Ectopic Pregnancy Medical Negligence Claim Resolved

A woman, who was transferred between hospitals while in severe and continuous pain from her ectopic pregnancy, has been awarded 75,000 Euros in ectopic pregnancy medical negligence compensation at the High Court.

Anne English, aged 47, from Clonmel, County Tipperary, had attended the St Joseph’s Hospital, Clonmel, in 1996, with a suspected molar pregnancy – an unusual condition in which abnormal growth occurs instead of foetal tissue.

Anne wasseen to by consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr. Raymond Howard, who dismissed the molar pregnancy and suggested that Anne was suffering from a condition known as acute retrocecal appendicitis. Dr Howard then arranged for Anne to be transferred to Our Lady’s Hospital, Cashel, for a surgical opinion.

However, as Mr Justice Sean Ryan at the High Court was told, Dr. Howard had overlooked Anne´s true condition which was a ectopic pregnancy – one in which the embryo implants outside of the womb – and, when the pregnancy finally ruptured while Anne was at Our Lady’s Hospital, she was returned to St Joseph´s Hospital by hospital despite bleeding heavily and being in a critical condition.

On Anne´s return, Dr Howard immediately transferred her to the operating theatre, where anaesthetic measures had to be used to resuscitate her and three litres of blood were removed from her peritoneal cavity. Despite making a physical recovery from the incident, Anne alleged she had been severely psychologically damaged by the incident and continued to suffer from it.

Finding the Dr. Howard 40 per cent liable for the injury due to his shortcoming, and the Health Service Executive 60 per cent liable for the injuries suffered by Anne, Mr Justice Sean Ryan announced a personal injury compensation award of 75,000 Euros should be paid to Anne stating “The decision to transfer her from the Cashel Hospital to Clonmel in this state amounted to gross negligence”.