Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

Misdiagnosis of Ectopic Pregnancy

Posted In: Medical Errors 18 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • July 17, 2007
  • 04:42 PM

On June 12th of this year, I went to our local ER because I had been having vaginal bleeding for 3 weeks, and found out that I was pregnant. The doctor there told me that I was possibly having a miscarriage and to watch and get into the doctor as soon as possible. On June 14th I had and ultrasound done and a vaginal ultrasound done. The next day at my family doctor he told me they could not see anything on the ultrasounds because I was not far enough along yet, but so far it looked ok. Well on Monday June 18th, I started having severe cramps, I could not walk, move or anything. My boyfriend took me back to the ER, where I told them I was pregnant and what was going on. The doctor had a blood test done on me, and that was all. He never touched me the whole time I was in there. No ultrasound, no pelvic exam, he didn't even feel my stomach to see if I had pain anywhere. He put his hand on the side of the bed and told me I was having a miscarriage, gave me some pain pills and sent me home. Two days later on June 20th I finally got into a OBGYN. Within 30 minutes of being there he was doing an ultrasound and found that I in fact had an ectopic pregnancy. He said the pains I had on Monday were my felopian tube rupturing, and that I had been bleeding internally for two days, so they had to get me in to do surgery as soon as possible. During the surgery he found that since it had not been caught on that Monday like it should have they had to take out my right felopian tube. And I now have only a 30 percent chance to have kids. And to think I had asked the ER doctor if they had checked for an ectopic pregnancy and he said yes and that was not what it was it was just a miscarriage.

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18 Replies:

  • I was having pain, spotting. Went to ob/gyn he said it was a pelvic infection. Gave me antibiotics and sent me home. Couple of days later, still in pain called the doctor. Again, went to the doctors office. Sent me home. His conversation included sentences such as "young mother of two"..etc. Bottom-line, It's all in your head. Two days later I had my husband take me to the emergency room around midnight. Kept hearing the nurses say "what a shame it was that I brought my babies out in the middle of the night." The physician after pushing on my stomach, tossed a enema box at me and told me not to use the emergency room as a doctor's office." Three days later my mailman heard me crying for help. He called an ambulance. When I got to the emergency room I heard the nurses say "oh, she's back." .. diagnosed with an abdominal pregnancy. Lost the baby; it was attached to the abdominal wall and colon. Suffered a cardiac arrest in surgery. Almost cost me my life. Now, years later I had double vision and was told I needed new glasses. Ended up to be Multiple Sclerosis. What ever happened to the oath "do no harm"..
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • It is truly pathetic how callous and uncaring the medical field has become. I experience it constantly, and in the worst possible way. My husband is in the military, and military "doctors" are some of the worst. You hear horror stories ALL THE TIME about misdiagnoses, and Primary Care Managers who simply don't give a #&%*. I'm having trouble getting pregnant, and all the "doctors" tell me is "keep trying" as they walk out the door to the next patient. When my father in law was in the Air Force, my mother in law had sudden and excruciating abdominal pain. He took her to the base hospital where they diagnosed her for (get ready for this)...."Bored Housewife Syndrome" they gave her a bottle of 200 vicadin and told her to smoke. Wow. Turns out she needed gall bladder surgery. She almost died. If he hadn't taken her to the emergency room, she would have.Military doctors SUCK, and any doctor who doesn't care enough to investigate all the possible causes of symptoms should have their medical license revoked!! Sueing is not the answer, I think people should report bad doctors to the medical board.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • September 25, 2007
    • 05:00 AM
    • 0
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  • Mistakes were made, and I will tell you where it began.Do not fault the ER doctor and the family doctor early in your course. There may have been a faulty reading of the ultrasound or poor technical performance of the ultrasound by the Ultrasound tech. They probably were not able to visualize the tubes well. I wonder why he was not concerned about a three week history of bleeding at that time. It is common to bleed a little in the implantation phases of preganancy, but not to have continuous bleeding for that long. In any case, he should have warned you that you may be miscarrying at that time.The ER doc on the 18th should have recognized that since a gestational sac was not seen in your uterus and you had been bleeding for three weeks that you may be miscarrying or perhaps had an ectopic pregnancy. A physical examination might have helped, but often would not have revealed an ectopic. Ectopic pregnancies are small and not palpable during physical exam. Tenderness may not always be present until rupture of the tube or intra-abdominal hemorrhage.A wise choice at that time may have been to do a curettage of the uterus. If no villi or evidence of pregnancy is seen, attention to the fallopian tubes as soon as possible would be advisable. Unfortunately, it is common for an ectopic to have already damaged the tube before it is diagnosed. The option is salpingotomy (opening up the tube and cleaning it out.) Some Catholic hospitals only allow salpingectomy (removal of the whole tube with the pregnancy). Even with salpingotomy, functionality isn't guaranteed on that side.I hope that I have helped you to understand the difficulties doctors face everyday. Diagnoses are not as easy as you would think, or lawyers would like to make jurors believe. No doctor ever goes to work wanting to make a wrong decision. Belng a doctor is like taking the most important test of your life everyday and not being allowed to every get one question wrong.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 10, 2007
    • 06:20 PM
    • 0
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  • ER docs are notorious for their half-assed approach to acute medical care. My daughter has several major medical issues that require frequent ER visits. I have had a wealth of experience with emergency room physicians, and most of them fall prey to the tendency to either over-treat or under-treat. My mother is a doctor, and is often horrified at my recounting of my daughter's treatment at the hands of hospital staff. Even her regular physicians fall short of the mark on occasion. There is a lack of thoroughness evident in our current healthcare system. Mistakes were made, and I will tell you where it began.Do not fault the ER doctor and the family doctor early in your course. There may have been a faulty reading of the ultrasound or poor technical performance of the ultrasound by the Ultrasound tech. They probably were not able to visualize the tubes well. I wonder why he was not concerned about a three week history of bleeding at that time. It is common to bleed a little in the implantation phases of preganancy, but not to have continuous bleeding for that long. In any case, he should have warned you that you may be miscarrying at that time.The ER doc on the 18th should have recognized that since a gestational sac was not seen in your uterus and you had been bleeding for three weeks that you may be miscarrying or perhaps had an ectopic pregnancy. A physical examination might have helped, but often would not have revealed an ectopic. Ectopic pregnancies are small and not palpable during physical exam. Tenderness may not always be present until rupture of the tube or intra-abdominal hemorrhage.A wise choice at that time may have been to do a curettage of the uterus. If no villi or evidence of pregnancy is seen, attention to the fallopian tubes as soon as possible would be advisable. Unfortunately, it is common for an ectopic to have already damaged the tube before it is diagnosed. The option is salpingotomy (opening up the tube and cleaning it out.) Some Catholic hospitals only allow salpingectomy (removal of the whole tube with the pregnancy). Even with salpingotomy, functionality isn't guaranteed on that side.I hope that I have helped you to understand the difficulties doctors face everyday. Diagnoses are not as easy as you would think, or lawyers would like to make jurors believe. No doctor ever goes to work wanting to make a wrong decision. Belng a doctor is like taking the most important test of your life everyday and not being allowed to every get one question wrong.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 14, 2007
    • 02:26 PM
    • 0
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  • ER docs are notorious for their half-assed approach to acute medical care. My daughter has several major medical issues that require frequent ER visits. I have had a wealth of experience with emergency room physicians, and most of them fall prey to the tendency to either over-treat or under-treat. My mother is a doctor, and is often horrified at my recounting of my daughter's treatment at the hands of hospital staff. Even her regular physicians fall short of the mark on occasion. There is a lack of thoroughness evident in our current healthcare system.My mother was an ER doc, and I know she always tried her hardest to think of everything. It is easy to second-guess other doctors, especially when we already know the outcome. So much judgment is involved in emergency care. Nothing is ever textbook or absolute. Every case is like a riddle, where you are given some, but not all of the information you need to get the answer. It's a tough life, and people don't understand the complexities until they have been in the shoes of that doctor. I review cases which have gone bad, and it is not usually that the doctors have intentionally "half-assed" it or "over-done" things. They are under incredible pressure to keep patients moving through the emergency room. They cannot order all the tests they could possibly want because of cost and time confinements. If they over-do it, it is because of the remote chance that they could miss something unusual and be sued someday. If they order the test, they have to trust the results from the lab or the radiologist. Sometimes they don't even have a reliable history from the patient. In the end, they have to painstakingly document every thought process, all the while under tremendous pressure to move onto the next case.Again, I am sorry for whatever misfortune befell your loved ones, but if I could make just one person understand the difficulties of being a doctor, I would be pleased. Unfortunately, I will probably eventually be blocked from posting on this site.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 15, 2007
    • 06:31 PM
    • 0
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  • That is part a normal role out in a ER, An ultrasound should been done at the time of the ER visit and a pregnancy test plus a pelvic exam. This should be routine for them. Ectopic pregnancy falls under ER medicine. If the Radiologists missed because of an incomplete ultrasound it should be been repeated. This is something that should not be missed it can be deadly. Thank God you are ok.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • December 2, 2007
    • 08:54 AM
    • 0
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  • I am curious. Why only a 30% chance of conceiving? You still have one health fallopian tube, do you not? Many people conceive after a salpingectomy. Have faith.
    SweetNurse 3 Replies
    • December 6, 2007
    • 08:06 PM
    • 0
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  • That is part a normal role out in a ER, An ultrasound should been done at the time of the ER visit and a pregnancy test plus a pelvic exam. This should be routine for them. Ectopic pregnancy falls under ER medicine. If the Radiologists missed because of an incomplete ultrasound it should be been repeated.Ultrasounds are one of the least expensive tools doctors have to diagnosis conditions and diseases.In this situation, the ER doctor should have ordered that plus a CT scan of the upper and lower abdominal regions. I had heavy bleeding, long term and after a pelvic, several tests, and one Transvaginal US my primary doctor ordered a CT scan. He wanted to cover all bases. Sadly though, he was barking up the wrong tree by only looking at my heavy bleeding. It was symptom of a bigger picture.And that is the problem with health care today. I've seen more doctors in the last 2 years than I've seen in my entire life (I'm in my 50's) and had so many misdiagnoses for three conditions which were all interlinked. The problem was the same again and again. A doctor would focus on one symptom or a cluster of symptoms which seemed to fit together, rather than on the entire gamut of symptoms and signs, which in turn lead to several misdiagnoses. Then the doctor gives the patient a Bandaid for their hemorrhage.One time I was told by an ED doctor to not come back to the hospital if I had the same symptoms. He told me to simply take two Advil and take a nap. I actually had a condition which can result in serious complications if left untreated. I went 6 more months without the correct diagnosis and treatment.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • December 10, 2007
    • 11:41 PM
    • 0
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  • last week i went to my first prenatal visit to find out i was 5 weeks and 2 days pregnant .at this ime the doc told me that she could see a sac but no heartbeat . she sent me to do bloodwork for my HCG levels after 2 tests and three days later she told me my levels did not go up and that meant an abnormal pregnancy (ectopic) and i needed to schedule for a termination. After 24 hrs of grieving my loss i started researching on ectopic pregnancy , i had none of the symptoms and did not feel in my heart the doctor was right . i called my doctor and asked if there was any way she could be wrong . she told me no i then told her that i refused to terminate untill i had another ultrasound . she finally agreed i scheduled the ultrasound that day i was now 6 weeks and to my surprise the radiologist showed me my perfectly normal fetus and its heartbeat. I was appalled that my doc would be so careless as to not offer extra test before deciding to abort my baby
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • You're right suing is not the answer. Sadly though even when bad doctors are reported, the medical board does nothing about it. The medical field is quick to support their doctors even if their actions were unjustified.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • My ordeal started December 13, 2005. I was confirmed pregnant and two days later I woke up in the worst pain of my life. I was laying in a pool of my own blood and called to my mother because I couldn't get out of bed. I tried once but I passed out and flopped my head down on the dresser. She called the ambulance and I died four times on the operating table before getting a massive transfusion. I woke up in ICU a week later to find I had to have both fallopian tubes removed and one ovary. I was crushed. Apparently (so I was told) infection spreads rather quickly from one female part to the next during such circumstances. I ended up with a heart condition and night time panic attacks when I am sleeping.So after the crackpot half sterilized me a massive tumor developed from where she did a DNC (if it was in the tube I don't see why???) and that tumor caused a full hysterectomy.A few months later my organs prolapsed and had to be repaired with plastic mesh. Dec 2009 I was diagnosed with 2 abdominal hernias caused from the hysterectomy and the rectocele mesh repair and now I have no insurance to get them fixed.I contacted an attorney and she said "If you have a tubal pregnancy it is your fault and not the doctor's when you have to be sterilized" so what can anyone do?!I have now been diagnosed with Chronic Neutropenia (A blood disorder that is caused from lack of white blood cells) after having it for four years without a single doctor telling me about it so I could get it looked at by a hemotologist. I had to request my labwork to even find it! It could turn into Leukemia or Cancer if not carefully watched.I feel so bad for everyone that has a tubal pregnancy and is misdiagnosed. You are all in my thoughts and prayers..
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
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  • Eva, while I'm sorry for your ordeal, by the sounds of things there was probably absolutely nothing taken out of you that didn't need to be taken out. While I can't vouch for the nature or skills of your doctor, calling them a crackpot sounds ungrateful to someone who sounds like they saved your life. It's very unfortunate that you had so many complications and ongoing issues afterwards, but I don't know of D and Cs causing uterine tumours? They can cause scarring but I don't know that that would have required a hysterectomy.As I said I'm very sorry for all that you've been through, please don't take this as a personal attack, it isn't meant as such.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • last week i went to my first prenatal visit to find out i was 5 weeks and 2 days pregnant .at this ime the doc told me that she could see a sac but no heartbeat . she sent me to do bloodwork for my HCG levels after 2 tests and three days later she told me my levels did not go up and that meant an abnormal pregnancy (ectopic) and i needed to schedule for a termination. After 24 hrs of grieving my loss i started researching on ectopic pregnancy , i had none of the symptoms and did not feel in my heart the doctor was right . i called my doctor and asked if there was any way she could be wrong . she told me no i then told her that i refused to terminate untill i had another ultrasound . she finally agreed i scheduled the ultrasound that day i was now 6 weeks and to my surprise the radiologist showed me my perfectly normal fetus and its heartbeat. I was appalled that my doc would be so careless as to not offer extra test before deciding to abort my baby[/QUOLast Thursday I started bleeding and didn't really understand why as I'm usually bang on with my cycle and this was mid cycle (actually around ovulation). Anyway Friday come and I was still bleeding. Came home from work with what felt like period pain(haven't had since my teens ands now 35!). Googled my symptoms and it kept coming up pregnant?? or ectopic pregnancy??? Totally confused, as to my knowledge I'd had a 'period' at the end of February. Cut a long story short I did 2 clear blue HPT and both were positive. Ended up at the emergency gyno early evening, they took a urine pregnancy test-positive, a vaginal ultrasound-nothing to be seen, a blood test for my hcg levels-300, and was told I was more than likely having a miscarriage???? Had to go back Monday to see how my hcg levels were-1337???? They'd more than doubled and the midwife said it looked like I had normal pregnancy readings after all and to come back wednesday(today) for another ultrasound. Well, still nothing showing, had a second opinion and that doctor didn't see anything either so they took my blood agian. we took a walk around the hospital for an hour before being called up again. HCG 2800???? they were rising but nothing on the scan! Anyway they've diagnosed an ectopic pregnancy and I'm going in the morning for a larcoscopy to see if it is in the fallopian tube. Now I'm thinking maybe it's too early to see something on my scan?? 6weeks 3days according to the dates as we know for a fact the last time we had sex was the 21st feb as my hubby ´has been away working. Thinking maybe I should wait another week or so and see if a little sac shows up? I haven't had excruciating pain, i haven't bled profusely, my hcg levels are rising healthily and I'm reeeeaally confused. like yourself, i'm doubting the doctors decision to do this tomorrow.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • All the nurses at my nhs hospital are crackpots! Incompentant and off there heads more than the patients who were on codeine but please don't take this personally to you..The answer is yes sue! If you don't do anything then you'll kick yourself later and we have to do something when medical negligence has taken place. Saying nothing will be done about it, thery'll just throw the case out is coming from a quitter! Probably another crackpot from a hospital!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • "And I now have only a 30 percent chance to have kids."I just want to let you know that I had an ectopic pregnancy, and had a fallopian tube removed. I got pregnant again two weeks after the surgery and now have a beautiful but noisy 3-year-old. 30% still definately leaves pregnancy as a possibility.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Heyya, I too had an ectopic pregnancy misdiagnosed. I lost my left tube and 3.5L of blood in the process. My issues with doctors started a good mth or so before the rupture. I went to the doctor for a few reasons one of them being abnormal bleeding. Was told that its normal to have abnormal bleeding. A few weeks later i did a home pregnancy test which came up positive. Went to a different doc to confirm, which he did. I mentioned the abnornal bleeding. He said its possible that it could be ectopic however didnt send for ultrasound. two weeks later I get serious pain, vomiting and i fall in and out of consciousness. Go straight to hospital in which they confirm ectopic pregnancy. I was taken stright into surgery which might i add was the most terrifying experinces of my life so far. Docs said that they found 3.5l of blood and had to take out the left tube. Its taken a few years to deal with it, but Ive finially got real angry about the errors and im thinking i need to looking at legal. :mad:
    Joan212 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • That is part a normal role out in a ER, An ultrasound should been done at the time of the ER visit and a pregnancy test plus a pelvic exam. This should be routine for them. Ectopic pregnancy falls under ER medicine. If the Radiologists missed because of an incomplete ultrasound it should be been repeated. This is something that should not be missed it can be deadly. Thank God you are ok.I had my tubes burnt and tied on Jan 11th 2007 after my third child was born. Last Friday I found out I was pregnant. I went to my dr and they took blood work and a urine test. It was a faint positive. They sent me home and said I probably have an ectopic pregnancy. I knew l was at risk for an ectopic pregnancy because my tubes are tied and burnt. Well, I started bleeding So, I went to the ER and they did more blood test and gave me an ultrasound, pelvic exam, and a vaginal ultrasound. They couldn't find the baby anywhere on any of the tests. They gave me miscarriage papers and said I was probably having an ectopic pregnancy and sent me home with a referral to see an Obstetrician. I just want it to be confirmed that I am having an ectopic pregnancy so they can fix it before my tube bursts. Now, I have to wait until the baby grows in order to find it to remove it. How many weeks were you ladies when the tube burst? They say ectopic is so rare, but there are so many woman online with the same problem.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • November 9, 2010
    • 03:22 PM
    • 0
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  • I just recently found out i was pregnant. the doctor believes in two things. one that it may be eptopic and two i have a defective ovary. i think hes wrong for both. i feel my baby is fine and in the right place it should be in. i have no bleeding, no pain, just a uti. tomorrow i have an ultrasound examination to have a second opinion and if the doctor believes the same thing then my baby will be terminated. should i follow my instinct? or believe the first doctor?
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 10, 2011
    • 06:59 PM
    • 0
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