A £15,000 compensation settlement has been paid to a woman after she became infertile following a missed diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy.
The woman, who remains anonymous, sought medical advice from her GP in June 2012 as she was suffering pain to her lower left abdomen. She and her husband were trying for their third child and the woman was referred by her GP to the Early Pregnancy Unit at Swindon’s Great General Hospital, where an ultrasound scan was carried out.
The scan did not reveal anything in the womb, but the woman had two follow-up appointments at the hospital for blood tests and further ultrasounds. The blood tests showed that she had increased BHCG levels, though their were not sufficiently high to determine whether or not she was pregnant.
Three likelihoods were outlined to the patient – a normal pregnancy, a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. The woman had suffered two prior ectopic pregnancies; one resulted in the removal of a fallopian tube, whilst the second was treated successfully with methotrexate.
More scans and blood tests were carried out, and the woman was asked to return to the hospital ten days later for a laparoscopy, a procedure used to examine abdominal organs. The woman was then informed that the blood tests indicated that she had an ectopic pregnancy. When she arrived at the hospital for treatment, she was told by doctors that her remaining fallopian tube would need to be removed, rendering her infertile.
Following the procedure, the woman sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a compensation claim for the misdiagnosis of her ectopic pregnancy. She stated the the medical practitioners should have diagnosed her condition earlier, given her history of such pregnancies and carried out a treatment of methotrexate. She claimed that this would have prevented the damage to her fallopian tube that meant it could only be removed, leaving her still fertile and able to try for another child. The hospital conceded to the error, and out-of-court negotiations lead to an agreement that a settlement for the misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy be settled for £15,000.