Sunday 4 December 2016

Doctor saw signs of early pregnancy after 'ectopic diagnosis'

Liz Farsaci

Published 14/09/2016 | 02:30

Laura Esmonde Picture: Caroline Quinn
Laura Esmonde Picture: Caroline Quinn

A top obstetric expert said she saw signs of early pregnancy in a woman who was told she had suffered an ectopic pregnancy.

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Dr Keelin O'Donoghue said she found evidence of an intrauterine gestational sac when she performed a scan on Laura Esmonde at Cork University Maternity Hospital on 27 January, 2013.

Dr O'Donoghue, the lead clinician for obstetric ultrasound and foetal medicine at CUMH, told the Medical Council inquiry yesterday that she saw no mass, signifying an ectopic pregnancy.

Her evidence is in sharp contrast to prior evidence given at the inquiry into a doctor who allegedly misdiagnosed an ectopic pregnancy. The doctor remains anonymised during the inquiry.

Dr O'Donoghue said she did not see anything clearly within the sac, such as an embryo "but, for me, it looked like an intrauterine pregnancy".

Contrasted

The inquiry is looking into claims that a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist working at South Tipperary General Hospital (STGH) - referred to as Dr A - wrongly diagnosed an ectopic pregnancy in the case of mother-of-three Ms Esmonde (38).

Dr O'Donohue's findings contrasted with conclusions seemingly drawn by Dr A and colleagues at STGH.

The inquiry has heard Ms Esmonde say that she attended the A&E department at STGH on January 6, 2013 with a swollen leg and was told she had "an ectopic pregnancy of unknown location". Dr A advised that she take methotrexate, used to stop cells from growing.

Later, when she was transferred to Cork University Hospital on January 26, scans suggested an intrauterine pregnancy.

During a tense cross-examination yesterday, Ms Esmonde, from just outside Tipperary Town, came close to tears as legal counsel for Dr A, Simon Mills BL, disagreed on a number of points.

Mr Mills said Dr A would argue that he did not use the phrase "ectopic pregnancy of unknown origin" when speaking with Ms Esmonde about her condition.

The pair also disagreed about the number of scans that were performed on Ms Esmonde - the barrister said four while the mother said three.

"If you want to have a fight about the notes, that's fine - I want to have a discussion about the facts," Mr Mills told her.

"You are free to place whatever interpretation you want … but the facts are sacred."

The inquiry continues.

Irish Independent

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