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Hospital probes "near fatal" mishap

Thursday, 3rd September, 2009

By Gayle Hogan

The local health service is investigating claims that slack and unsympathetic attitudes at the hospital put at risk the life of a woman suffering a rare case of ectopic pregnancy.

The young mother of two, who wished to remain anonymous, said she wanted to speak out to prevent other women going through the same "heartbreaking" ordeal. She told the Barrier Daily Truth she was at least five weeks' pregnant when an ultrasound performed at the hospital detected an abnormality, following a bout of bleeding. Despite the abnormality and three visits to the emergency department, the woman claims little was done to investigate the cause of her woes. "The doctors ignored the report from the ultrasound and didn't want to do a follow up scan as to why the sac was so low," the woman said. "As I was in pain and still bleeding I was told throughout three different visits to emergency that if it was a miscarriage then nothing could be done and just to wait and let nature take its course." The woman said she knew she had to investigate further when blood tests showed levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) continuing to rise. "I ended up feeling worse and kept on bleeding. "I went back up the hospital to emergency and was so lucky that there was a doctor who is training to be a obstetrician who did a quick ultrasound in the emergency room." The woman said the doctor then called in a qualified obstetrician. "They both looked at the scan and what they discovered was something very rare - my baby was growing through my c-section that I had seven months ago." The woman said she returned to the hospital the following day to have an another scan and was then flown to the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide to have the baby aborted in order to save her life. She said she might have died if the ectopic pregnancy had not been discovered when it was. Ectopic pregnancies are medical emergencies and can be fatal, while the pregnancy itself never survives, according to the website www.babycenter.com.au. "What I want is for women to listen to what their body is telling them and for the doctors to do a proper job. "There should have been an internal scan done. If I hadn't had the training obstetrician on Thursday night, I could have died from this." A spokesman for the Greater Western Area Health Service responded to the complaint as follows: "The Greater Western Area Health Service expresses its concern for the recent trauma experience by the woman in question. "Although ectopic pregnancies are common it is a terrible experience for any woman to experience and for their family. "The Health Service has today attempted to contact the person to discuss their concerns and will continue to do so. "The Area Health Service takes all complaints very seriously and Broken Hill Health Service is looking into the details of the matter raised by the Barrier Daily Truth. "The Health Service is not aware of any formal complaint being lodged in regard to this matter."

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