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Ectopic Pregnancy Claims

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Decades of combined experience

Decades of combined experience

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The experts in Medical Negligence Claims

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd’s specialist Medical Negligence department has an in-house team of Solicitors and legal professionals dedicated solely to this area of law. With decades of combined experience, we are dedicated in assisting clients who have suffered physically, mentally and financially as a result of negligent medical treatment.

Our specialist team pursues an array of medical negligence claims ranging from Prescription errors and misdiagnosis, to complex birthing injury and spinal claims and everything else in between.

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 fallopian tubes are the tubes connecting the ovaries to the womb. If an egg gets stuck in them, it won’t develop into a baby and your health may be at risk if the pregnancy were to continue.

In the UK, around 1 in every 90 pregnancies is ectopic. This is around 11,000 pregnancies per year.

What are the causes of ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is often caused by a damaged fallopian tube. A fertilised egg would have trouble passing through a damaged fallopian tube, resulting in the egg implanting and growing within the tube. In rarer cases, an egg can implant in an ovary, the cervix or in the belly.

Things more likely to cause an ectopic pregnancy are:

  • Previous ectopic pregnancy.
  • Inflammation or infection – Sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, can cause inflammation of the tubes and other nearby organs, increasing your risk of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Fertility treatments – Research suggests that women who undergo IVF or similar treatments are more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Tubal surgery – Surgery to correct a closed or damaged fallopian tube can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Smoking – Smoking prior to getting pregnant can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. The more you smoke, the greater the risk.

What are the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy?

Suck symptoms of ectopic pregnancy may include:

  • A missed period or other signs of pregnancy.
  • Tummy pain low down or on one side.
  • Vaginal bleeding or a brown watery discharge.
  • Discomfort when urinating or passing stools.
  • Pain in the tip of your shoulder.

Often, these symptoms are not necessarily a sign of a serious problem and could be caused by other problems. However, if you have a combination of the above symptoms and you might be pregnant, this should be looked into further.

How is it diagnosed?

It can be difficult to diagnose ectopic pregnancy based on symptoms alone, as the symptoms can be very similar to other conditions.

A urine test can show if you are pregnant. To find out if you have an ectopic pregnancy your doctor will likely do:

  • A pelvic examination to check the size of your uterus and feel for growths or tenderness in your stomach.
  • Blood tests to check the level of the pregnancy hormone (hCG) which is repeated after 2 days. During pregnancy the level of this hormone doubles every 2 days. A low level can be suggestive of ectopic pregnancy.
  • A transvaginal ultrasound scan allows your doctor to see the exact location of your pregnancy.

How is it treated?

Medication – An early ectopic pregnancy without unstable bleeding is usually treated with methotrexate medication by injection which stops cell growth and dissolves existing cells.

Laparoscopic procedures – Salpingostomy and salpingectomy are two surgeries used to treat some ectopic pregnancies. In a salpingostomy, the ectopic pregnancy is removed and the tube is left to heal on its own. In a salpingectomy, the pregnancy and the tube are both removed.

Emergency Surgery – If the ectopic pregnancy is causing heavy bleeding, you may need emergency surgery. This can be done laparoscopically or through an abdominal incision. In some cases, the fallopian tube can be saved. Typically, a ruptured tube should be removed.

How do I make a claim?

If you feel that your diagnosis has been delayed or that your treatment has been inappropriate then you may be entitled to bring about a claim.

The team at Oakwood Solicitors Ltd will be able to give you free advice on the prospects of your case and whether you would be eligible to make a claim.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can bring about a claim?

The victim of the negligence can bring about a claim in their own right however it is often sadly the case that the victim is either unable to bring about a claim or has sadly passed. In such circumstances, a claim can be brought about on their behalf, either by an appropriate person or litigation friend if the victim is still with us, or by the executor of the estate of the surviving dependant(s) if the victim has passed.

Our specialist team will be able to discuss whether you have a right to bring about a claim, so if you or a loved one has been affected do not hesitate to contact us.

How long do I have to claim?

Claims of this nature are subject to a three year limitation period. This means that claims have to be commenced within the Courts in three years of rather the date the negligent act occurred or the date you became aware that negligence had occurred.

In cases involving deceased victims this limitation period commences from the date of death and in cases involving minors, the limitation period starts when they reach their 18th Birthday.

The law surrounding limitation periods is complex. Our specialist team will be able to advise further.

How long will my case take to run?

Given the complexities involved in pursuing Clinical Negligence claims, they can often take 18-24 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued. Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant medical records and protocols before approaching independent medical experts for their opinion.

We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.

How much is my claim worth?

It is often difficult to value clinical negligence claims at their outset given the complexities involved however we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

  • General damages – An award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.
  • Special damages – An award for all of your out of pocket expenses such as travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case-specific.

How is my case funded?

The majority of Clinical Negligence cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘No-Win, No-Fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay upfront and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost.

If you are successful in your claim a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations.   If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

Why should I choose Oakwood Solicitors Ltd?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of clinical negligence.

We want to ensure at Oakwood Solicitors that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms that they don’t understand and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.

What do I do now?

If you believe or feel you have a claim, contact us for a free initial consultation regarding your options:

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carol cook
Carol Cook — Solicitor and Head of Department

Carol Cook joined Oakwood Solicitors in May 2017 to lead the Medical Negligence department. She handles a wide range of Clinical and Dental Negligence claims and has a specialist interest in Birth Injuries.

Carol has years of experience in handling complex clinical and Dental Negligence claims securing substantial amounts of damages for her clients. Carol studied her law degree (LLB honours) at Salford University.

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