Lillian’s Story: Mismanaged ectopic pregnancy led to continuous pain and depression

Our client was left with pain and depression due to a mismanaged ectopic pregnancy. She has since settled her medical negligence claim against the defendant trust.

Our client has chosen to appear under the pseudonym “Lillian” for this case study.

Timeline of events

Spring 2021

After three positive at-home pregnancy tests, Lillian – who had three miscarriages in the previous year – was referred to the defendant trust’s early pregnancy unit by her GP.

However, four days later, she visited the trust’s emergency department due to abdominal pain and spotting. A transvaginal scan was carried out by the gynaecology assessment unit, which noted the gestational sac was very small with no contents. The radiology report also noted Lillian had an enlarged left ovary and two cysts. A rescan was booked for 10 days’ time.

The scheduled ultrasound showed an ectopic pregnancy. A consultant told Lillian that she could not be managed medically due to her BHCG levels and instead, would require surgery. A laparoscopic salpingectomy was carried out, which left Lillian with continuous pain on the left side of her abdomen. She also suffered with a psychological injury as a result of the negligence.

How we helped Lillian’s case

Lillian contacted us and our medical negligence solicitor Meera Tailor assisted her throughout her claim.

We instructed experts in obstetrics and issued a letter of claim to the defendant trust, which admitted breach of duty. We then prepared a detailed schedule of loss in line with the expert evidence and quantified the case. An out-of-court settlement was secured.

A note from Meera Tailor

“The reporting of Lillian’s first ultrasound scan fell below a reasonable standard of care. The gestational sac was irregular and did not have any contents, so Lillian should have been managed as having a ‘pregnancy of unknown location’, rather than having a definitive intrauterine pregnancy.

“Furthermore, there was a failure to inform Lillian of the choices of treatment (surgical and non-surgical) that were available to her so she could make an informed decision. Methotrexate (medical treatment) can be offered to women with HCG of less than 5,000 iu/L and Lillian’s was 3,177 iu/L when she was offered surgery.

“Had she been managed as a pregnancy of unknown location, Lillian would have been asked to return for a second blood test in 48 hours, when her HCG levels would have been even lower. A repeat scan would have confirmed an empty uterus and identified the ectopic pregnancy. Lillian would have opted for non-surgical treatment, avoiding the need for surgery and the loss of her fallopian tube

“Due to the surgery, Lillian experienced pain on the left side of her abdomen for a period of time. She has been psychologically affected by the events and suffers with depression.”

Contact our medical negligence solicitors

Our specialist team of medical negligence solicitors has experience supporting people during missed or misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy claims. If you would like to discuss making a claim, please call us on 0808 164 0808 or request a call back and we will call you.