IVF resulted in hemorrhagic ectopic pregnancy after doctor failed to follow up with Hcg labs, should I pursue for malpractice?

Asked about 1 year ago - San Diego, CA

IVF Jan. 2013 I had a +preg. with +labs, however blood Hcg results were on the low side. RE told me I was pregnant & to follow up with a repeat lab draw in 2 days to monitor for increase of preg. levels. After next Hcg results did double but were still low. Progesterone & estrogen were very high indicating a strong pregnancy despite slow rising Hcg levels. Next recommended for follow up 5 days later, day 4 started with cramping & bleeding. RE sent me for another STAT lab which returned with +Hcg levels but still low. I was told that I would miscarry due to the low #"s and called a biochemical & to stop meds. I asked about follow up labs and was told there was no need. 10 days later I ruptured fallopian tube & nearly died. OB believes negligence due to no follow up labs or ultrasound?

Additional information

After notifying RE office it was stated that this has never happened in there office before but due to the circumstances a new set of practice would be put into place assuring all hcg levels be followed until reaching 0. This would assure in complete resolution of prior pregnancy. Unfortunately this was not the case for me and when asking for lab follow up at the time I was turned away despite my continued pregnancy symptoms resulting in a 9 week ectopic pregnancy emergency with loss of fallopian tube.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Paul J Molinaro

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    Answered . Ectopic pregnancy cases present very strange issues (strange being defined as non-intuitive). While the doctor's failure to timely diagnose and treat an ectopic pregnancy may be obviously below the standard of care... especially should said doc be an alleged fertility expert... the ruptured fallopian tube may not be considered a harmful damage with regard to the future... Here's why... a defective fallopian tube is often thought of as being a risk factor for ectopic pregnancy and should that defective tube have "always been there" that woman was always at risk for ectopic pregnancy... and once that tube is gone (removed when the ectopic is finally treated) that risk of future ectopic pregnancies s is gone (with regard to that tube)... a wily defense attorney will say the woman is actually better off without the defective tube! Strange, right?

    That said, a fertility expert may be liable for failure to check tubal patency before doing in vitro… this issue would really require a good expert review of the records to opine as to whether the particular woman should have had special studies done prior to any impregnating procedures.

    Anyone who even thinks he or she has a medical malpractice case should immediately consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Most of us offer free consultations, so there is nothing to fear in calling us.

    - Paul

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
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  2. David Ian Schoen

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    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . There are two stumbling blocks to being successful. The first is being able to establish that there was a departure from the standard of care. The second is the potential value of the case. Has your ability to have a successful IVF in the future been affected? Also just because your doctor indicates that there may have been a problem, does not mean that they would be willing to testify to that position. You should consult a local medical malpractice attorney who will be able to evaluate all of the issues and let you know if this is worth pursuing.

  3. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your medical records would need to be ordered by a malpractice lawyer and sent to an expert to review to ascertain whether there was a breach of the standard of care. Call one of the above lawyers in your state to investigate.

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