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Failure to diagnose and treat
ectopic pregnancy claims

Failure to diagnose and treat ectopic pregnancy claims

How much can you claim?

A 30 year old woman's ectopic pregnancy was left undiagnosed for 3 weeks despite making multiple hospital visits due to severe abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding. She was awarded:


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Claiming for ectopic pregnancy

Medical negligence whilst uncommon can have a big impact on your life and wellbeing.

An ectopic pregnancy is traumatic for any mother and the experience can be harrowing. Most women going through this tragedy receive an excellent level of care from the NHS and the treatment they need to ensure their health. However, there are cases where women suffering an ectopic pregnancy are let down by those responsible for their care, making the experience more distressing and placing those affected at risk.

An ectopic pregnancy can’t be saved but it can be life-threatening for the mother if treatment isn’t delivered. Where medical negligence has led to undue suffering, in particular avoidable damage to fertility, Your Legal Friend is here to offer support. We can help you understand why you we’re let down by those that should have been providing you with an excellent standard of care. We know that financial compensation can’t undo the damage that has been caused but it can help you take a step forward.

We understand how difficult making any compensation claim can be, especially those that are medical. Our team are highly experienced in providing support for those that have been affected by negligence, as well as having the legal knowledge to ensure that your case has the best possible outcome.

If you’re ready to discuss your ectopic pregnancy case, our team are on hand to listen and advise you now. When you choose Your Legal Friend, you know that you’ll have the backing of a professional team throughout the whole process.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The time limit on making an ectopic pregnancy claim

Medical claims are all subject to a three-year time limit, claims must be started in Court before that date.

While you do have up to three years to bring your claim forward, we advise those affected to seek professional legal advice as soon as they are able to. This not only speeds up the process, allowing you to move forward quicker, but it can support our team in building your case too. Our team of medical negligence specialists will need to obtain all of your medical records, and these can often be easier to access when they are requested closer to your experience.

If you do not claim within the set time period, your claim will be considered ‘statute barred’ or ‘out of time’ and will unfortunately not be taken further. There are two exceptions to this rule, in the case of children and if the negligence directly led to a fatality. In these cases suing the NHS for negligence is still possible as the date on which time begins to run is the date of the child’s 18th birthday, and in the case of fatalities, from the date of death.

We’ll also ask you to give a  witness statement. The more details you can recall to include in the statement the better it is. For many patients, this is a task that they find easier to complete closer to the experience too.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of medical negligence solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • No win, no fee – guaranteed
  • Over 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation
I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much

Mrs E. Swaffield

Our ectopic pregnancy experience

Our medical negligence team has years of experience working on a wide variety of birth injury cases so we understand just how difficult a decision it can be to bring an ectopic pregnancy case.

That’s why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by our specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts, to guarantee the best results for you.

Our birth injury team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high value ectopic pregnancy cases.

Laura is recognised within the legal profession as a leader in the field of medical negligence and serious injury compensation. Laura has acted in a wide range of cases over her 17 years of practice and has particular expertise in acting for children who have suffered brain injury due to mismanaged birth or surgical errors, and in managing claims that have resulted in the death of a loved one. Laura has achieved a number of large settlements including £5.4 million for a 7 year old and £4 million for an 11 year old child.

Laura’s expertise and dedication to her clients is recognised in the Chambers guide to the Legal Profession in which she was praised for the efficiency of her approach to case handling and described as “tenacious and detail-oriented”.

Laura has been a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel since 2005 and accredited as a Senior Litigator in the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) since 2006. Laura is also a member of the specialist lawyers panel for Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the UK’s leading charity committed to patient safety and justice.

The effects of medical negligence can be devastating for the individual and their families, so securing appropriate compensation for them as quickly as possible is our top priority.

Laura Morgan
Director of Medical Negligence

*Our No Win, No Fee agreement

Pay nothing if you lose your case, get maximum compensation if you win

Whatever the nature of your birth injury claim, we always seek the maximum level of compensation for our clients – and if your case is unsuccessful, we don’t charge you any fees. This is our guarantee for all standard birth injury claims.

With our no win, no fee guarantee, you pay nothing, unless you win your compensation claim. At that point you will only pay your insurance premium, if applicable, and the success fee, which will never be more than 25% of the amount you win.

No Win, No Fee Solicitors

Start your claim in 10 minutes

For a FREE, confidential, no-obligation assessment of your claim, simply complete this short form. We aim to call you back within 10 minutes.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

The ectopic pregnancy claims process

Step 1 - Obtaining your medical records

We ask you to sign forms of authority so that we can obtain your medical records from your GP and any hospitals that have treated you.

Step 2 - Providing your statement of what happened

As the medical experts we instruct need to know what happened during your treatment, we work with you to draft a detailed, accurate statement in your own words.

Step 3 - Minimising your loss

You are responsible for minimising the losses you have incurred as a result of the alleged medical negligence, so you need to attend any available treatments that could aid your recovery.  You may also need to return to work as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Step 4 - Establishing that a breach of duty occurred

You must prove that the treatment you received fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent and skilful medical specialist of the type who treated you and that, as a result, you suffered a loss or injury.  To do this, we obtain independent medical evidence from an expert in the appropriate area of medicine.

Step 5 - Establishing the effect of the breach of duty

We have to establish whether the sub-standard treatment you received is likely to have led to your injury or loss. As this can be difficult to establish, you may need to see one or more medical experts who will assess your current condition and what the future holds for you.

Step 6 - Calculating the value of your claim

The value of your claim comprises:

  • general damages for the pain, suffering and impact of the negligence on your daily life both now and in the future
  • actual financial losses such as loss of earnings, cost of care, medical and travel expenses.

Step 7 - Proving your loss

You need to keep all original financial documents safe as these will be needed when we prepare your case to go to Court. These documents include accounts, payslips, and receipts for expenses and medical treatments.

Step 8 - Preparing your case for Court

Although only a small number of cases proceed to a trial, we prepare every case for this eventuality.

Step 9 - Attending the trial in Court

The trial takes place before a Circuit or High Court judge who will make a decision based on the evidence we have prepared.

Step 10 - Awarding your compensation claim

If you win your case, the amount of compensation will be decided by negotiation with the defendant or, if your case goes to trial, by the judge. The defendant will usually be ordered to pay us the costs we have incurred in preparing your case. We will also agree a date by which your compensation will be paid to us so that we can pay your compensation as quickly as possible.

Frequently asked questions

Can I claim for an ectopic pregnancy?

Most cases of ectopic pregnancies can’t be avoided, but the impact on your future will vary depending upon how quickly you are treated.       

You’ll need to prove that your condition is worse as a result of  medical negligence in order to be successful.. Examples of medical negligence occurring would include:

  • Visiting your GP or hospital with the signs of an ectopic pregnancy but being misdiagnosed
  • A failure to order the necessary tests for an accurate diagnosis
  • Healthcare professionals inaccurately interpreting your test results
  • The wrong treatment being chosen for your personal case
  • A poor level of care during your treatment leading to further complications
  • A failure to monitor your condition when necessary

If you’re unsure if you could make a claim following a delay in diagnosing or treating an ectopic pregnancy, Your Legal Friend is here to help you. Our team has extensive experience in representing those affected by medical negligence and can help you understand if your claim could be successful.

How much compensation will I get?

Medical compensation claims are based on the amount you have suffered as a result of negligence. For this reason, it’s not possible to say how much compensation you could receive if successful without first understanding your experiences.

When you instruct  Your Legal Friend, we’ll take a wide range of areas into consideration when placing a value on your case. From how it’s impacted your health and wellbeing in the long-term to the immediate pain you suffered and whether surgery was avoidable.

While we can’t say how much your individual case is worth, medical negligence cases against the NHS total millions every year, with those severely affected receiving significant sums. Our friendly experienced ectopic pregnancy solicitors are on hand to offer you advice and support throughout, including explaining the value of your personal case.

How long do I have to make a claim?

If you’ve been affected by medical negligence when you were suffering an ectopic pregnancy, you must start your case in Court  within three years.

This time limit applies to all medical claims and after the three-year point has passed you won’t be able to make a claim. In many cases, it’s simple to understand when your timeframe starts but in others it can be more complex. Referred to as the ‘date of knowledge’, the starting point is when you first realised that your care did not meet expected standards.  Usually this will be the date on which your ectopic pregnancy was diagnosed.  If you’re confused about how long you have to take a case forward, the Your Legal Friend team can help. We’ll work with you to understand your diagnosis and when the time to pbring your claim will run out. Despite having three years, we advise our medical negligence clients to start the process sooner.. We have to obtain a lot of evidence including medical records, report and witness statements  to support your claim and give it the best possible chance of success and this is a task that’s often easier to accomplish the sooner we start.

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, most commonly in one of the fallopian tubes that connects the ovaries to the womb.

If the egg gets stuck in this area, it won’t be able to develop into a baby and without treatment; it can cause serious harm to the mother if the pregnancy continues. It’s not possible to save the pregnancy when it’s ectopic but it’s vital that treatment is sought.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What causes an ectopic pregnancy?

It’s not always possible to determine what causes an ectopic pregnancy and as a result they can’t always be prevented. Sometimes ectopic pregnancies are associated with a problem with the fallopian tubes, such as something blocking them or them being narrow, preventing the egg from reaching the womb.

There are some factors that can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy occurring, including:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease – Inflammation of the reproductive system can increase the chances of an ectopic pregnancy. There are multiple ways inflammation can occur, it’s often linked to a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Previous ectopic pregnancy – If you’ve already experienced one ectopic pregnancy, the chances of having another is around 10%.
  • Surgery on your fallopian tubes – Previous surgery that has been performed on your fallopian tubes, such as an unsuccessful sterilisation procedure, can also increase the risk.
  • Falling pregnant while using an IUD or IUS – It’s rare for a woman using either an intrauterine device (IUD) or intrauterine system (IUS) as contraception to become pregnant. However, there are some cases of this happening and if this occurs you’re more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Smoking
  • Age – Women that become pregnant at an older age are also more likely to suffer an ectopic pregnancy. Those aged between 35 and 40 are most at risk

What are the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy?

During the early stages of pregnancy, you may not experience any symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy at all. In some cases, women don’t realise their pregnancy is ectopic until they attend their first scan.

Where symptoms are present, they are likely to develop between the fourth and twelfth week of the pregnancy. Common ectopic pregnancy signs include:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain that is on one side
  • Pain in the tip of your shoulder
  • Discomfort when using the toilet

Most cases of ectopic pregnancy are spotted and treatment delivered before the symptoms become worse. However, there are some patients who aren’t diagnosed until their ectopic pregnancy has grown large enough that is causes a rupture in the fallopian tube. Surgery is needed if this has happened as complications and worsening health are likely to develop without treatment.

Signs of a rupture caused by an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • A sharp, sudden, and intense pain in your tummy
  • Feeling dizzy or fainting
  • Nausea
  • Looking very pale

When should you seek medical advice following ectopic pregnacy symptoms?

If you suspect that you have an ectopic pregnancy and are experiencing some of the symptoms, you should contact your GP. It’s important to act immediately, allowing your GP to refer you if necessary and a diagnosis to be confirmed.

Is an ectopic pregnancy considered an emergency?

A ruptured fallopian tube due to an ectopic pregnancy should be considered a medical emergency. Experiencing a combination of any of the signs of a rupture should mean you call for an ambulance or go to A&E. If left untreated a rupture can be life threatening, although this is rare in the UK.

How is an ectopic pregnancy treated?

Unfortunately, the baby cannot be saved if there’s an ectopic pregnancy, treatment focuses on the health of the mother and ensuring the pregnancy is removed before it grows too large. There are several different treatment options available for an ectopic pregnancy. Which one is offered will depend on a range of factors, including the size of the pregnancy, and the advantages and risks should both be discussed with you beforehand.

Treatment for an ectopic pregnancy includes:

  • Expectant management

If the pregnancy is small or can’t be found and your symptoms are mild, doctors may choose to monitor your condition. Sometimes, the pregnancy will dissolve by itself and this treatment option eliminates potential side effects. Instead, you will have regular blood tests and told what to do if any symptoms develop.

  • Medication

During the early stages of an ectopic pregnancy, treatment can be administered through medication. Given through an injection, it prevents the pregnancy from growing. Regular blood tests will be conducted afterwards to assess how the treatment is working and whether any other steps need to be taken. There is a chance of your fallopian tubes rupturing after treatment, as well as other mild side effects.

  • Surgery

If the pregnancy has grown too large for medication, it can usually be treated with keyhole surgery. Surgery will involve removing the entire fallopian tube but it isn’t thought to reduce your chances of becoming pregnant again. If the fallopian tube has already ruptured, emergency treatment will be needed.

For a confidential chat, call one of our experts today  0808 301 8622    As seen on TV

What happens if an ectopic pregnancy isn't treated?

An untreated ectopic pregnancy can cause serious harm to the mother. As the fertilised egg grows in the fallopian tube, it can cause it to rupture. This not only causes a significant amount of pain, it can potentially be life threatening.

Can I become pregnant again following an ectopic pregnancy?

Most women that have had an ectopic pregnancy are able to conceive following treatment. Overall, 65% of women achieve a successful pregnancy within 18 months of an ectopic pregnancy, although occasionally IVF or other fertility treatment may be needed.

Following an ectopic pregnancy, there is an increased risk that you’ll have another but it is still small at around 10%. If you do become pregnant again the NHS advises visiting your GP as soon as possible so an early scan be arranged.

When is an ectopic pregnancy medical negligence?

In most cases an ectopic pregnancy isn’t possible to prevent and most medical negligence cases in this area focus on the level of care a patient has received. You should be able to expect that your doctors will take the necessary steps to diagnose you and provide an excellent level of treatment. This is what occurs the majority of the time in the UK but there are a few women who are let down by those responsible for her care.

Medical negligence may occur if:

  • Necessary tests aren’t ordered despite the signs of an ectopic pregnancy
  • Test results are read inaccurately leading to misdiagnosis
  • Mistakes being made during surgery
  • Aftercare following treatment not meeting acceptable standards

Cases of medical negligence occurring during the care of a woman suffering from an ectopic pregnancy have also made the news. Among them are:

  • A woman suffering from an ectopic pregnancy and securing compensation after a hospital blunder meant she was not treated for a sexually transmitted disease.
  • A pregnant mother dying after doctors twice misdiagnosed her ectopic pregnancy as a stomach bug.
  • A woman received an £8 million pay-out following an ectopic pregnancy surgery were mistakes were made, leaving here with permanent, severe brain damage.

What are the statistics on ectopic pregnancies?

In the UK, around one in every 80-90 pregnancies is ectopic, according to the NHS. Overall, this accounts for around 12,000 pregnancies each year. Complications arising from an ectopic pregnancy are very rare but occasionally happen.