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Hospital failed to diagnose ectopic pregnancy

A few weeks before Christmas 2013 Ms L found out that she was pregnant with what would have been her second child.

Almost straight away she began to feel faint and dizzy and was having vaginal bleeding.

She visited her GP several times and had blood tests and examinations. The GP wasn’t overly concerned but advised her to phone the local early pregnancy unit at Stockport hospital the following day.

Staff at the unit reassured Ms L telling her to contact them again if the problem persisted.

The problem did persist and in further phone calls to the unit over the Christmas period, Ms L was given conflicting advice – one member of staff told her she was probably having a miscarriage while in another call she was told she was fine and it was just anxiety.

By this stage, Ms L had been bleeding for more than 4 weeks and was experiencing sharp pains in her side.

It wasn’t until early January that a scan was performed and an ectopic pregnancy diagnosed (where implantation occurs outside the womb). Ms L then had to undergo emergency surgery which resulted in the fallopian tube being removed.

After an overnight stay in hospital, Ms L went home to her family.

Ms L felt very let down by the hospital and asked medical negligence solicitors at Atherton Godfrey to investigate the case on her behalf.


Medical specialists advise that because of the very serious consequences, any bleeding in early pregnancy should be regarded as due to an ectopic pregnancy until proven otherwise.

Had the ectopic pregnancy been diagnosed earlier medical treatment by way of tablets or injections was available that would have avoided the need for emergency surgery and the removal of the fallopian tube.

In the circumstances, the hospitals failure to arrange any sort of investigation was substandard and unacceptable.

After a lengthy legal battle, the NHS Trust agreed to pay Ms L compensation – there was never an admission of liability or an apology.

Author: Gail Harris