Case studies

Full apology for negligent treatment of patient with ectopic pregnancy

We acted for a client whose ectopic pregnancy should have been diagnosed before she suffered a burst fallopian tube which required life-saving treatment. At five weeks pregnant, she experienced light bleeding and her GP found that her hCG levels had not doubled as would be expected with a healthy pregnancy. She was referred to an Early Pregnancy Unit at Wycombe Hospital and her GP raised the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. After an ultrasound scan found no evidence of an intrauterine or extrauterine pregnancy, she was told that she had had a complete miscarriage but that there was a possibility of a pregnancy of unknown location.

Although her hcG levels dropped, she continued to experience pain and bleeding. A second ultrasound scan was undertaken and while no pregnancy could be identified, an ectopic pregnancy could not be excluded. Our client was advised to return for repeat blood tests to monitor her hCG levels. However, she collapsed at home and was rushed to hospital with a ruptured fallopian tube. 

She underwent a laparoscopy which identified a large ectopic pregnancy and a significant bleed. Surgery was carried out to remove her burst fallopian tube and she also required a blood transfusion. Following the incident, our client experienced flashbacks of the events and her life-threatening collapse. She was prescribed medication for anxiety. 

We obtained expert evidence which showed that our client’s ectopic pregnancy should have been diagnosed sooner, meaning that the rupture of her fallopian tube, intra-abdominal haemorrhage and psychological injury would have been avoided. 

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust admitted liability in full and provided our client with a formal apology. We were able to secure a good settlement for the clear failures in her care.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP