A young mum is unable to have more children after surgeons removed her healthy fallopian tube by mistake.
Chelsie Thomas, 26, was rushed to hospital in March last year after suffering a potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy.
Despite “clear and unambiguous” ultra-scan results showing the ectopic pregnancy was in her right fallopian tube, surgeons removed the left one, which was healthy.
The horrific blunder was only discovered a week later when Chelsie was rushed back to hospital after suffering crippling stomach pains.
Medics were forced to remove the right fallopian tube which now means Chelsie is unable to conceive naturally without IVF treatment.
Chelsie, from Walsall, West Mids., who has a six-year-old son Riley-Jay, said the mistake at Walsall Manor Hospital “destroyed everything".
She said: “I have had to explain to my son that he cannot have a brother or sister.
"I have had to leave my job because I can't face going back there and I am going to have to have therapy because it's getting worse not better."
Chelsie also says her relationship with her partner broke down as a result of the surgery and she has also lost her job and is on anti-depressants.
She added: “None of this seems real. I am heartbroken and just feel numb at what has happened and devastated at how I can no longer have children naturally.
“After I came round from my first operation I felt really ill. I was in so much pain which continued throughout the day.
“The next day the doctor who carried out the surgery came to see me and at this point told me that the operations went really well and I was told I go home that morning.
“Shortly after I got home I received a call asking me to go back to hospital for a scan.
“As I was being scanned I said that I thought that the ectopic pregnancy had been removed and then I saw my baby’s heartbeat on the screen.
“I started to cry instantly. I couldn’t speak as I was lost for words.
“It has been difficult to come to terms with the fact that I have not only had unnecessary surgery but have been left unable to have more children naturally.
“I had planned on having two more children as I come from a large family. I wanted Riley-Jay to grow up with little brothers and sisters.
“The hospital has classed this as a ‘never event’ and it is difficult to understand how this has happened. I just hope that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Her ectopic pregnancy was discovered after she suffered bleeding and went to Walsall Manor Hospital on March 7 last year.
She had surgery the same day, where her healthy fallopian tube was removed by mistake.
But a week later, when she was still in excruciating pain, she returned to hospital where the blunder was discovered.
What is an ectopic pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes, the NHS says.
If an egg gets stuck in one of the fallopian tubes – which connect the ovaries to the womb – it won't develop into a baby and the woman's health may be at risk of the pregnancy continues.
It is not possible to save the pregnancy, and it usually has to be removed using medication or an operation.
About one in every 90 pregnancies – or 11,000 a year – in the UK is ectopic, the NHS says.
If symptoms develop they tend to surface between the fourth and 12th weeks of pregnancy.
They can include a missed period and other signs of pregnancy, tummy pain, vaginal bleeding or a brown watery discharge, shoulder pain or discomfort when urinating or defecating.
In serious cases, symptoms can include a sharp pain in the tummy, dizziness or fainting, feeling sick or looking very pale, and they require immediate treatment.
Those symptoms could mean the fallopian tube has split open (ruptured), a situation that can be life-threatening.
In many cases the cause of an ectopic pregnancy is not clear, but it sometimes happens when there is a problem with the fallopian tubes, such as being narrow or blocked.
Chelsie approached solicitors Irwin Mitchell to examine her case, and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust apologised, saying the mistake was classed as a “never event".
The serious incident investigation report said that the registrar and consultant involved in the first surgery seemed not to have given “appropriate weight” to the original scan result “which demanded a forensic examination of the right tube and ovary, which clearly did not take place".
If Chelsie’s right tube had been “inspected throughout its entire length the ectopic pregnancy should have been discovered and removed", the report stated.
Without the intervention of staff, who flagged concerns about Chelsie’s care, it is likely her fallopian tube would have ruptured, a potentially life-threatening condition, the Trust said.
It admitted liability and has offered to pay for one round of IVF for Chelsie.
Solicitor Jenna Harris: “Understandably Chelsie has been devastated by the events that unfolded and she is still struggling to come to terms with not only losing a child, but also the fact that she faces the possibility of not being able to have more children in the future.
“Ectopic pregnancies can be extremely dangerous and Chelsie’s care has raised a number of very worrying questions.
“The Trust’s own findings in its internal investigation report are quite damning.
“While nothing can make up for what Chelsie has had to go through, we recognise that the Trust has admitted liability and made several recommendations in its incident report.
“We urge it to ensure these recommendations are implemented as soon as possible to improve patient care for others.”
Dr Matthew Lewis, the medical director at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, admitted surgeons made a mistake, and said: “Our care fell below the standard that we would expect.”
He added that the trust worked with "patients and their families, our own clinicians and staff to learn lessons and put systems in place to try and avoid such incidents".
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