Medical bungle at Royal Women's Hospital kills healthy fetus
By Stephen Drill
November 24, 2011 12:00AM
Parents' pain after bungle kills healthy baby
Wrong baby injected during medical procedure
Family believed to be considering legal action
A HEALTHY 32-week-old fetus was accidentally terminated in a botched procedure at the Royal Women's Hospital.
A Victorian mother, pregnant with twin boys she had already named, had made the agonising decision to abort one of the babies on doctors' advice, the Herald Sun reported. She had been told that one twin had a congenital heart defect that would require years of operations, if he survived at all.
An ultrasound clinician had checked the healthy baby, who was in a separate sac to the sick baby, before the termination. But just after 2.30pm on Tuesday the wrong baby was injected, terminating the healthy pregnancy.
The mother then had an emergency caesarean section and the sick child was terminated in a three-hour operation. A Royal Women's Hospital spokeswoman last night apologised for the "distressing clinical accident" and said the hospital was launching a full investigation.
A friend of the woman said the family was struggling to cope with the fatal mistake. "She went to the hospital with two babies and now she has none. And she had the heartache of giving birth to her sick baby. She's traumatised," she said. "The hospital said it had followed correct procedure, but how could this happen? "The ultrasound clinician said she checked three times before the termination because she didn't want to make a mistake."
The woman's husband, a nurse, a doctor and the ultrasound clinician, who was reportedly inconsolable as a result of the error, were in the room at the time of the procedure.
The Herald Sun believes the family are considering legal action. The ultrasound clinician performed the procedure because "she looks at ultrasounds all day", hospital sources said. The late-term termination went ahead only after a review by the Royal Women's Hospital.
A hospital spokeswoman said: "The Royal Women's Hospital can confirm a distressing clinical accident occurred (on Tuesday).
"This is a terrible tragedy and the hospital is deeply sorry for the loss suffered by the patient and her family." Health Services Commissioner Beth Wilson, who resolves complaints against Victoria's hospitals, said she was shocked.
"I have never dealt with a case like this before," she said.
Health Minister David Davis said: "This is an absolute tragedy for all concerned and my sympathies are with the family."
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national/medical-bungle-at-royal-womens-hospital-kills-healthy-fetus/story-e6frfkvr-1226204212196#ixzz1ebFWIlUh