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Ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis can lead to critical delays in treatment, risking life-threatening complications.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis, we can help. If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
Around one in every 90 pregnancies is ectopic, according to figures published by the NHS.
Failure to detect an ectopic pregnancy in its early stages will usually lead to serious consequences. Ruptured fallopian tubes are recognised as a medical emergency and can result in potentially life-threatening internal bleeding.
If you have suffered pain and injury as a result of an ectopic pregnancy that was not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, you may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim against the NHS Trust or private doctor or hospital responsible for the misdiagnosis.
If you decide to make an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim, your medical negligence solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Am I entitled to make an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim?
To claim compensation for ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis, your solicitor must prove that:
- you received care that was below the professionally acceptable level, and
- as a result, you experienced harm.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Or you can call 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor. Find out in minutes if you have a claim.
How long do I have to claim ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis compensation?
You usually have 3 years to make an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim. The timelimit starts from the date you discovered you were injured by negligent care (the date of knowledge).
Get an impartial opinion
To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to an injury claim expert on 0800 376 1001.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
How much compensation can I claim for an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis
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Updated December 2023
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General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred because of your accident. In addition to paying for lost wages and business losses if self-employed, special damages can cover any care costs and medical procedures you need, such as emergency surgery, psychological support and pain medication.
How long do I have to start a claim?
If your injury is apparent immediately after medical treatment, you will have 3 years to start a claim.
It may be that the negligent procedure happened more than 3 years ago, but your injury was only diagnosed recently, within the last 3 years. If so, you may still be able to make a claim.
What if your injury was diagnosed months or years after treatment?
You may not be immediately aware of your injury. In some cases, months and even years can pass before symptoms appear.
The law allows you to make a medical negligence claim up to three years after the 'date of knowledge' (when you first learned of the injury).
It is recommended that you start a claim as soon as possible, as medical negligence cases can be complex. Starting your claim sooner will give your solicitor more time to gather medical evidence, assess the extent of your injury and to negotiate interim payments and your final compensation amount.
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
- 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.
If your doctor fails to promptly diagnose your ectopic pregnancy, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Early ectopic pregnancy 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.
You may be able to claim compensation if your fertility has been affected by late or misdiagnosis.
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.
You may have an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis claim if 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.
How your solicitor proves 'breach of duty'
To make a successful claim, your 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. This will usually be decided by independent medical evidence and expert opinion concerning the facts of your case.
Clinical negligence claims
Ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosis is usually categorised as clinical negligence. Click on the icon below for more information.
How we can help you with your medical negligence claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.
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About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.