Scottish woman lost her baby after she was misdiagnosed with a stomach bug

The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. Picture: John Devlin
The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. Picture: John Devlin
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A pregnant woman suffering from appendicitis lost her baby after doctors at a scandal-hit hospital misdiagnosed her with a stomach bug.

The woman, who has not been named but was referred to as ‘Mrs C’, was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow for treatment.

The ‘super-hospital’, which is one of the largest in Europe, is under scrutiny after it emerged that two patients including a ten-year-old boy died following an infection linked to pigeon droppings.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has admitted there were “clear failings” in the expectant mother’s care, after a damning report was published.

The woman was admitted to hospital with severe abdominal pain and suspected appendicitis.

An ultrasound was carried out and she was treated for gastroenteritis, commonly referred to as ‘stomach flu’.

However, her condition deteriorated and she developed sepsis - and doctors discovered that her unborn baby had died.

An inquiry found there was a catalogue of failures in the woman’s care including no review by an experienced obstetrician and a “lack of physical examination” by experienced doctors.

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Checks on her vital signs including blood pressure, respiratory and heart rate were “not done appropriately” and there was a failure to interpret the signs of sepsis.

The reason for her deteriorating condition was discovered when she was opened up in the operating theatre and her appendix was removed.

However she later developed sepsis and organ failure.

The patient recovered after treatment but was readmitted twice more with infections in her abdominal muscles.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPS0) upheld a complaint that there was an “unreasonable failure” to diagnose appendicitis and sepsis.

Doctors were said to have failed to adequately consider an alternative diagnosis to gastroenteritis and consideration should have been given to carrying out a CT scan or laparoscopy.

The board was also criticised for delays in launching an investigation into the incident.

A spokesman for the SPSO said: “There was an unreasonable failure to diagnose Mrs C with both appendicitis and sepsis and, therefore, upheld Mrs C’s complaints.

“A number of failings had been identified by the board, but we made some additional recommendations for learning and improvement.”

The hospital has been told to apologise to the patient and review the care of deteriorating patients, particularly those exhibiting signs of sepsis, with patients “escalated” to a senior doctor.

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A spokesman for NHSGCC said: “We recognise there were clear failings in the patient’s care and will write to the patient to apologise.

“The Ombudsman’s recommendations are being discussed by a multi-disciplinary team to identify how these can be quickly implemented and ensure that lessons learned in this case are shared with appropriate staff.”

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