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Young woman left infertile following wrong site surgery
- Clinical Negligence
A young woman has been left infertile after surgeons removed the wrong fallopian tube following an ectopic pregnancy.
Pregnant Chelsea Thomas was admitted to Walsall Manor Hospital in March last year after suffering a heavy bleed. At the hospital, it was found that she was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb) in her left fallopian tube and surgery was scheduled for that same day.
Chelsea returned home following the operation, but after suffering ‘excruciating’ pain found herself back in hospital a week later. It was during this return visit that the serious surgical mistake was identified.
The pregnancy was located in the 27-year old’s left fallopian tube; however, surgeons removed her healthy right fallopian tube instead.
Chelsea then underwent a second operation to remove her remaining fallopian tube and is now unable to have children without the assistance of IVF treatment.
Chelsea has said that her marriage broke down following the surgery and she is now on antidepressants due the stress caused by her experience. She added that the surgeon who operated on her "shouldn't be allowed to touch another woman again”.
Walsall Manor Hospital has apologised and admitted an error was “regrettably made”.
Medical Director at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Dr Matthew Lewis, admitted "our care fell below the standard that we would expect" and added the Trust is working with "patients and their families, our own clinicians and staff to learn lessons and put systems in place to try and avoid such incidents".
Wrong site surgery is not just a regrettable error, it is a ‘never event’, the kind of mistake which should never happen because it is serious and easily preventable. Ectopic pregnancy is a life threatening complication requiring emergency treatment and Ms Thomas was left untreated for a week because the wrong fallopian tube was removed. This hospital’s negligence will also have life changing consequences for Ms Thomas as she is now unable to conceive without IVF.
Helen Budge is a senior clinical negligence solicitor with Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about never events, wrong site surgery or general clinical negligence issues and wish to speak with Helen, or any other member of the team, please contact us on 0161 237 5888.