Ectopic Pregnancy Negligence leads to £63k award to woman

A Tipperary woman has been awarded £63,000 in personal injury compensation following an ectopic pregnancy negligence case at the High Court.

Anne English (47), who was sent between hospitals while in severe and continuous pain from her ectopic pregnancy,

She underwent treated at 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 was treated 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 made arrangements 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 heard, 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 the fact that she was bleeding heavily and being in a critical condition.

On Ann’s return, Dr Howard sent her directly to the operating theatre, where anaesthetic measures had to be taken to resuscitate her and three litres of blood were removed from her peritoneal cavity. Ms English recovered from the incident but claimed she had been severely psychologically damaged by the incident and continues to suffer from it.

Mr Justice Sean Ryan found Doctor Howard’s oversight 40 per cent liable for the injury, and the Health Service Executive 60 per cent liable for the injuries suffered by Anne, and announced a personal injury compensation award of £63,000 should be paid to Anne stating “The decision to transfer her from the Cashel Hospital to Clonmel in this state amounted to gross negligence”.