Three years ago, Mrs Glenister died of a heart attack caused by internal bleeding, shortly after she arrived at Southend Hospital by ambulance. She was five weeks pregnant and had been suffering abdominal pains and vomiting and was afraid she was losing the baby. It was suspected that the pregnancy was ectopic. If an ectopic pregnancy ruptures, it can be fatal if the woman is not given emergency surgery.
Trainee paramedics didn’t treat it as an emergency
“The ambulance that took Mrs Glenister to hospital was staffed by two trainee paramedics. A ruptured ectopic pregnancy needs urgent medical attention as it is life-threatening; yet the trainees didn’t treat it as such” says Roger Wicks, senior Partner and co-founder of Gadsby Wicks who represented Mrs Glenister’s family at the inquest. “When we call an ambulance, we assume that the paramedics are fully aware of what constitutes an emergency. Sadly, this is not necessarily so. The trainees in this case didn’t even turn on the sirens and it became a family tragedy.”
Coroner is asked to record medical negligence as a factor
It was 40 minutes before Mrs Glenister arrived at hospital, at which point she had four to five litres of blood in her abdomen because her ovarian artery had been ruptured. Roger has called for the coroner to record medical negligence as a factor in Mrs Glenister’s death. The inquest has been adjourned until next week.
What is an ectopic pregnancy?
Ectopic pregnancy affects an estimated one in ninety pregnancies in the UK each year. It occurs when the fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb, usually in the fallopian tube. Occasionally, it implants in the ovary, in the cervix or in the abdominal cavity. It is common and often resolves itself, without the need for surgery.
How is an ectopic pregnancy treated?
If it is detected early, medication is usually given to stop the egg developing. In around half of ectopic pregnancies, the egg dies before it develops and the body absorbs the pregnancy tissue. At later stages, surgery may be needed to remove the egg. Most commonly, this is done through keyhole surgery. A ruptured ectopic pregnancy causes heavy internal bleeding and is a medical emergency.
What are the symptoms of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy?
Typical signs of an ectopic pregnancy rupture include:
• severe pain in the lower abdomen, commonly on one side
• heavy bleeding
A ruptured ectopic pregnancy is an emergency
If you experience symptoms of a suspected ruptured ectopic pregnancy, call 999 and ask for an ambulance immediately, stressing your concerns.
If you or a loved one have suffered because of failings in ante-natal care, or have had to deal with the consequences of delays in treatment or misdiagnosis, please call us on freephone 0808 115 6189 or email us to see if we can help.
See here for a selection of case studiesPosted 11th April 2014 | Posted in News,Uncategorised