Monday, November 4, 2013

Hundreds of babies may have been aborted due to misdiagnosis in major teaching hospital in Wales

The Daily Mail has published a shocking report based on an investigation by the Ombudsman for Wales, that says hundreds of babies may have been aborted after NHS staff at a major teaching hospital in Wales routinely failed to make vital checks.
 Women at the University Hospital of Wales were given botched scans, which could have wrongly told them they had miscarried their babies.
Emily Wheatley, 31, almost went through with an abortion, but a scan at a different hospital showed that her baby was alive and well
An investigation by the Ombudsman of Wales found that the hospital had been using outdated guidelines when diagnosing miscarriages
It is now feared hundreds of women could have lost their babies

According to the report which can be found on this link
hundreds of pregnant women may have had healthy babies aborted after scanning blunders at a top hospital.
An investigation found that medics had been using a flawed procedure for scanning women who were at risk of losing their babies.
 It is feared that many will have been wrongly told they had miscarried and given drugs to terminate the pregnancy.
 The ‘fundamental error’ in procedure goes back to 2006.
Midwives investigating miscarriages are recommended to use an internal transvaginal scan which is more accurate than the external Doppler ultrasound procedure.

The scandal came to light after Emily Wheatley, 31, was told she had miscarried at nine weeks following investigations at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

But when she attended a different hospital for treatment with drugs to remove the foetus in July 2012, staff carried out a further scan which revealed a baby’s heartbeat. Miss Wheatley went on to give birth to a healthy baby but was ‘traumatised’ by the events.
Fears: In Ms Wheatley's case the error was spotted, and she gave birth to a healthy baby. But an investigation has raised fears that other women may not have been so lucky

Emily Wheatley yesterday spoke of her despair after being told by a midwife she could not detect a  heartbeat during her first scan.

Another midwife repeated the procedure at the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, but concluded she had suffered a silent miscarriage.

It was only when she went to Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny that another scan revealed she was still pregnant. Miss Wheatley, of Monmouth,  who is now mother to healthy eight-month-old  Ella was left ‘traumatised’.

She said: ‘When I saw the baby clearly on the screen, I couldn’t really believe that the University Hospital of Wales had got it wrong. I feel angry at the decision to not follow a simple process which could have prevented this misdiagnosis.’

Miss Wheatley, who suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome, added: ‘It’s just unbelievable that there are potentially other women out there who have been diagnosed with having a silent miscarriage. And they potentially have got rid of healthy babies –  that frightens me.

‘Maybe hundreds of babies have been lost because of their decision.’

The investigation found UHW staff were ‘systematically failing’ to perform the correct scans on women with suspected early pregnancy loss.

A damning report from Peter Tyndall, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, says well-established clinical guidance was ignored for seven  years. The findings will be ‘extremely disturbing’ for women who have had terminations in that time, he said.

A spokesman for the Royal College of Gynaecologists,  who issued the guidelines, yesterday said  almost every unit in England was signed up  and adhering to the recommended procedure.

Mr Tyndall has asked the Welsh Government to check that all health boards are now complying with the guidance.

A helpline received 28 calls yesterday, of which eight women were ‘immediately reassured’.