The Plaintiff was referred by a General Practitioner to her local maternity unit for an ultrasound scan following a positive pregnancy test. She was seen in the ante natal clinic and underwent an ultrasound scan which unfortunately confirmed an early miscarriage and so the Plaintiff was booked for an evacuation of the retained products of conception (ERPC) three days later.
The Plaintiff was admitted as planned and the procedure took place the following day. She was advised that it had been successful and was transferred back to the ward to recover. The Plaintiff remained there for approximately 9 hours at which point she developed generalised aches and pains. A further 10 hours later she was reviewed and noted to be complaining of abdominal pain and shoulder tip pain. The doctor who had carried out the ERPC reviewed the Plaintiff at that stage but made a specific note in her chart that the procedure had been carried out under ultrasound there could not have been a perforation. This was factually incorrect. This was also the first time which he reviewed his patient following surgery. The Plaintiff remained in a worsening condition for a further number of hours before she was reviewed by the Consultant Gynaecologist on call who happened to have come into the ward by chance. He suspected a perforation and arranged to take her back to theatre for laparoscopic investigation as an emergency. Multiple perforations of her uterine wall and bowel were identified during this procedure and her surgery was converted to an open laparotomy to repair her injuries. The Plaintiff remained in hospital for a protracted period recovering from the surgery and has been left with a significant scar on her abdomen from the laparotomy.
The Plaintiff contacted Augustus Cullen Law who obtained supportive expert evidence from two Consultant Obstetricians in the UK who criticised the standard of care she received during the ERPC procedure and the post-operative period. In particular, it was their view that the perforations were caused due to the substandard surgical technique of the doctor involved and, further, that there was a complete failure on the part of the doctor concerned to review the Plaintiff following the surgery. It was also quite clear that a factually incorrect statement had been recorded in the records regarding the use of an ultrasound during the procedure. Proceedings were issued against the Defendant in late 2015 and, following the delivery of a Defence on behalf of the HSE in which negligence was admitted, settlement negotiations were arranged and the Plaintiff accepted the sum of €150,000 and costs which were paid with an admission of negligence. A complaint to the Medical Council of Ireland was also lodged by the Plaintiff regarding the manner of her treatment.
If you have any further queries please contact Jamie Hart, Partner in the Medical Negligence Department
18 April 2017