Ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claims

Introduction

Updated: October 8, 2018

Around one in every 90 pregnancies is ectopic according to figures published by the NHS.

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Failure to detect an ectopic pregnancy in its early stages may have serious consequences for the mother. Ruptured fallopian tubes are recognised as a medical emergency and can result in potentially life-threatening internal bleeding.

Anyone who suffers injury as a result of an ectopic pregnancy that is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim against the NHS Trust or private doctor or hospital responsible for the negligent misdiagnosis.

Lawyer and claimants

Do I have an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim?

If you have been injured in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

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What are the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy will give a positive result on a pregnancy test and may feel like a normal pregnancy in the early stages. However, the following symptoms are likely to be experienced between weeks 5 and 14 of an ectopic pregnancy:

  • Abdominal pain, particularly on one side of the body
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Pain in the shoulder caused by pressure placed on the diaphragm
  • Pain when emptying the bowels
  • Dizziness and fainting

A patient who presents with any of these symptoms should be given blood and urine tests, a pelvic exam and an ultrasound to diagnose the condition.

Doctors are expected to be particularly vigilant when treating patients who have a history of ectopic pregnancy, as around 20 percent of women who have suffered an ectopic pregnancy will do so again during their life.

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Early diagnosis

If an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed early enough, the pregnancy may be terminated using a drug called methotrexate. Medical termination typically delivers a better outcome for the patient as there is no need to remove the fallopian tubes and the patient's fertility is not affected in the majority of cases.

After a certain period of gestation, surgical termination is the only treatment option. Surgeons typically will endeavour remove the part of the fallopian tube where the fertilised egg is lodged and rejoin the tubes after the ends have healed, using a procedure called salpingostomy. If the patient's health has been affected, the fallopian tube may have to be removed entirely.

Surgical termination may reduce a patient's ability to conceive. Therefore, the sooner an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed the better the outcome for the patient both in terms of the risks of treatment and in terms of her future fertility.

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Making an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim

Doctors owe a duty of care to diagnose ectopic pregnancies and provide treatment in a professional and timely manner. An ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim may arise whenever this duty is breached and the patient suffers injury as a result. Examples include:

  • Failure to diagnose the condition when symptoms are presented
  • A delay in diagnosing the condition causing the women to undergo more invasive surgery than was necessary
  • Misdiagnosis, for example, diagnosing a miscarriage instead of an ectopic pregnancy
  • Failure to perform the correct tests
  • Misinterpretation of test results such as blood tests and scans
  • Surgical error such as removing the wrong fallopian tube
  • Substandard post-operative monitoring and future pregnancy care.

To make a successful claim, the injury lawyer would need to establish breach of duty on the part of the healthcare professional, also known as negligence. Breach of duty occurs whenever a medical practitioner behaves in a manner that drops below reasonably expected standards. The arguments will usually revolve around independent medical evidence surrounding the facts of the case.

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100% No Win, No Fee ectopic pregnancy compensation claim - Pay nothing if you lose your claim

A no win no fee agreement ( known as a Conditional Fee Agreement) is entered into between the claimant and a suitably qualified solicitor.

A Conditional Fee Agreement is basically the terms under which the solicitor represents the claimant.

The CFA documents what the lawyers will do as well as how they will be paid if your claim is successful.

If you instruct a Quittance Personal Injury solicitor for your ectopic pregnancy compensation claim there are absolutely no hidden fees , nothing to pay up-front and the reassurance that you will not be financially out of pocket.

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How much compensation can I claim for an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis?

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our medical negligence compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Meet the QLS team

The nationwide panel of Quittance solicitors carry out the legal work for all types of medical negligence claim, from more minor injury cases to serious, long-term injury. Selected because of their track record in winning cases, our lawyers have years of experience recovering compensation for their clients.

Click here to meet more of the QLS team.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Carol Cook Clinical Negligence Panel Solicitor
Lee Raynor Clinical Negligence Panel Solicitor
Jonathan Speight, Senior litigator

About the author

Jonathan has over 30 years' experience in the personal injury sector and has been awarded the rank of Senior Litigator by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

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