If an ER missed the fact that my wife was having an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in her having to have a fallopian tube removed, what are her rights?

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If an ER missed the fact that my wife was having an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in her having to have a fallopian tube removed, what are her rights?

My wife went to ER one night as she was experiencing vaginal bleeding. A pelvic exam was administered, but that’s it. Referred to a GYN approximately 1 week later and a pregnancy test was administered. My wife had an ectopic pregnancy that was missed at the ER. The tube was unsalvageable and had to be removed.

Asked on January 30, 2015 under Malpractice Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

IF an ER would normally (under accepted standards of medical care) have been expected to have diagnosed an ectopic pregnancy if someone comes in for vaginal bleeding, AND ALSO IF, had they done so, it would have been possible to have done something about the pregnancy and spared the tube, you may well have a malpractice case. But if ordinarily, under reasonable standards of care, the ER would not be expetd in these circumstances to spot an ectopic pregnancy, there is no liability (no wrongdoing or carelessness); and if even if they had spotted it, it would not have changed anything, there are no damages (the failure to spot the ectopic pregnancy did not cause harm). You need to consult with a medical expert to see if under the circumstances, what was done was both careless and may have caused injury.


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