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Birth Injury Case Studies

Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy

When she was nine weeks pregnant, Jasmine was admitted to hospital with brown discharge and abdominal pain. An ectopic pregnancy was diagnosed, but this opinion was later dismissed by a consultant who believed she had suffered a miscarriage. But when Jasmine's fallopian tube ruptured a week later it became apparent the doctor had made a grave error, causing her serious physical and emotional trauma.

Jasmine and her partner already had a child and were looking forward to the next addition to their family. However, they became concerned when Jasmine began to suffer a brown flaky discharge and a dull abdominal ache on her right hand side. She was nine weeks pregnant at this stage so her GP recommended she attend the local hospital.

Jasmine was admitted to the early pregnancy unit where she was examined, had an abdominal ultrasound scan and a transvaginal ultrasound scan. The results of these tests showed no evidence of a foetus, although a urine test confirmed she was definitely pregnant. Medical professionals subsequently diagnosed an ectopic pregnancy and surgery was arranged for the following day.

Before the operation was performed, Jasmine was examined by a consultant. He did not believe she had an ectopic pregnancy as she was not experiencing any pain. Instead he advised she had suffered a miscarriage, and would therefore perform a complete evacuation of the uterus. After recovering from the operation Jasmine was discharged home, believing that she was no longer pregnant.

However, one week later she woke up feeling extremely unwell. She had excruciating abdominal pain, dizziness and shortness of breath. She tried to walk to the bathroom but collapsed while doing so. Now extremely concerned, Jasmine's partner drove her straight to A&E where a gynaecologist diagnosed a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.

An emergency operation was performed which confirmed Jasmine's right fallopian tube had split. It was removed and she was transferred to the surgery assessment ward for further care. She was able to return home three days later, but her recovery was significantly hindered by an infection which saw her re-admitted to hospital for another five days.

Although Jasmine is still able to conceive, she remains distressed by the entire episode, both physically and emotionally. She continues to suffer pain and fatigue and cannot lift heavy items, go for long walks or play with her son as she used to.

Jasmine also felt confused as to why the consultant dismissed the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy, instead stating she had suffered a miscarriage. She contacted us to discuss whether this mistake amounted to medical negligence. We advised that she had indeed been the victim of a substandard level of care. The doctor in question failed to take into account the results of an ultrasound scan, a blood test and Jasmine's symptoms, all of which clearly pointed to an ectopic pregnancy.

We helped Jasmine make a claim for the pain and suffering this delay in diagnosis caused her and her loved ones, and she received over £8,000 compensation.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

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