Clinical Negligence

Emergency surgery following rupture of ectopic pregnancy

Our specialist clinical negligence team based at Thomson Snell & Passmore, Tunbridge Wells and Dartford (Thames Gateway), has secured £11,000 for a woman who had to undergo life-saving surgery when her GP failed to carry out adequate investigations into her symptoms which led to an ectopic rupture.

This clinical negligence claim involved the negligent treatment of a 29-year-old woman who attended her GP complaining of heavy bleeding for 11 days, stomach cramps, mood swings, extreme tiredness and severe abdominal pain.  The GP did not examine her, suggest blood tests, discuss pregnancy or do a urine test.  She was told that she would only be referred to a specialist if she had been bleeding for six weeks and was prescribed a course of antibiotics.

Her condition deteriorated and one week after she had seen the GP she collapsed at home and was taken by ambulance to Eastbourne District General Hospital.  Because of her symptoms, a pregnancy test was done which was positive.  After a scan was performed she was diagnosed as having had an ectopic pregnancy which had ruptured.  She was rushed into theatre and underwent life-saving surgery – laparoscopic left salpingectomy (removal of the Fallopian tube).  She needed three units of blood because she had suffered such extensive bleeding.

The team, acting for the claimant, successfully argued that earlier diagnosis would have meant that the operation to remove her ectopic pregnancy would have been performed in a planned fashion; there would have been significantly less blood loss and it is unlikely that she would have required blood transfusions.  She would have been spared several days of pain and suffering and it is likely that her ectopic pregnancy would not have ruptured.  In addition, she would have recovered much more quickly and the experience would have been far less traumatic.

This clinical negligence case resulted in an out-of-court settlement of £11,000 to compensate the claimant for her pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

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