Around 1 in 90 pregnancies are ectopic in the UK. This equates to around 11,000 cases every year.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. This is known as a tubal pregnancy. Initially, the egg may start to grow normally. However, the fallopian tubes are not the natural home for a fertilised egg.
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When an egg becomes trapped, there is a risk of the growing embryo rupturing the tube, causing severe internal bleeding. On average, there are two deaths every year in the UK and Eire from ectopic pregnancies.
No ectopic pregnancy should ever get to the stage where the expectant mother is put at risk. Sadly, an ectopic pregnancy cannot be saved, so the priority for healthcare professionals is to ensure prompt treatment, in the form of 'expectant management' or 'medical management', rather than surgical intervention to achieve a safe outcome.
Medical negligence occurs when doctors misdiagnose or fail to diagnose ectopic pregnancy. In either case, the result usually causes a delay in treatment and may lead to internal bleeding and/or rupture of the fallopian tube.
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis can lead to a need for surgery that wouldn't otherwise have been necessary.
Should you or a member of your family have suffered due to a delayed or misdiagnosed ectopic pregnancy, you may be able to make a clinical negligence claim to recover compensation for the pain, injury, and loss you have suffered.
Call Spencers Solicitors on 08000 93 00 94 for a confidential, and no-obligation chat with a member of our experienced medical negligence team about the possibilities of claiming compensation. In most cases, we can handle ectopic pregnancy compensation claims by using No Win No Fee agreements.
There is no one cause of ectopic pregnancies; even in specific cases, the causes may be uncertain. However, the following can increase the risk:
Initially, an ectopic pregnancy will present itself in the same manner as a normal healthy pregnancy. Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy come to light between four and twelve weeks into the pregnancy. Problems may come to light with an early scan or when some or more of the symptoms described below are present:
If the following symptoms appear, urgent medical assistance is required:
A combination of these symptoms may indicate the fallopian tube has ruptured.
The symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are also the symptoms of other much less severe conditions, which is sometimes why medical misdiagnosis occurs. Not all patients can articulate the different symptoms they are experiencing. When a patient experiences abdominal pain in the early stages of pregnancy, it is vitally important that doctors carry out tests to exclude the possibility of ectopic pregnancy.
Doctors should give patients with symptoms urine tests, a pelvic examination and an ultrasound scan. If the scan reveals a pregnancy of unknown location (PUL), HCG and progesterone blood tests are needed too.
A competent doctor will also investigate whether the patient has a higher risk of having an ectopic pregnancy.
Early diagnosis enables the ectopic pregnancy to be treated without resorting to surgery.
Doctors treating possible ectopic pregnancy patients owe them a duty of care. The duty is to provide patients with the standard of care at a level that could be reasonably expected of a competent doctor or other suitably qualified healthcare professionals in the appropriate field of medicine.
When doctors provide care and treatment that falls below the required standard, they have breached their duty of care to their patients.
To succeed with a negligence claim, you must prove:
In the case of ectopic pregnancy negligence claims, if you suffered harm due to medical negligence and had to undergo surgery when otherwise medical management would have been a treatment option, you may have a potential compensation claim. In other words, to bring a successful ectopic pregnancy medical negligence claim, you will need to prove that your condition has been made worse as a result of the negligent medical care you received
Your claim may consist of:
You may have incurred or will incur other losses specific to your claim. Provided the losses are necessary and reasonable in the amounts claimed, you should be able to recover them. Your medical negligence solicitor will be able to give you further advice on what you can claim.
Contact Spencers Solicitors medical negligence team on 08000 93 00 94. Our expert medical negligence lawyers will handle your compensation claim with skill, care and empathy.
Get in touch with us to make an appointment for a telephone call with one of our medical negligence experts. There will be no strings attached - you can tell us what has happened, what you are going through and what your doctors have told you will happen moving forwards.
We'll listen to everything you say and offer our advice on whether we think you have reasonable prospects of bringing a successful ectopic pregnancy claim. If we believe you have a feasible claim, then you can decide whether you want us to take on your claim or not.
We will be delighted should you choose Spencers Solicitors to handle your claim. We will work tirelessly to repay the trust you have shown in us and to bring your clinical negligence claim to a successful conclusion. Our ectopic pregnancy claim experts approach their work with discretion and compassion.
A Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA) is the usual way we fund medical negligence claims for our clients.
CFAs are also known as No Win No Fee agreements. In most cases, we handle ectopic pregnancy claims using No Win No Fee arrangements.
With a No Win No Fee claim, you will have nothing to pay upfront, and if your claim doesn't succeed, there will be nothing to pay, at all.
If you win your case, the Defendant of the claim (usually the NHS in ectopic pregnancy negligence claims) will pay you compensation and legal fees. You will pay us a success fee out of the compensation we recover for you. The amount of the success fee will not exceed 25% of the damages recovered for pain and suffering and past losses.
Before you enter into a No Win No Fee agreement, we will fully explain how the arrangement works.
In addition, we will advise you on taking out After the Event (ATE) insurance to cover any outstanding expenses such as the cost of medical reports or court fees, in the event your claim is unsuccessful.
In most cases, there is a three-year 'limitation period' to start a clinical negligence claim. This period runs from the date of the negligence, or the date of knowledge, i.e., when you became aware of the negligence.