13 Nov 2017

Pregnant woman wrongly told baby had no heartbeat

8:18 pm on 13 November 2017

A pregnant woman who was told her baby had no heartbeat requested a final scan the day she was to be made to miscarry, only to find the baby was alive and growing.

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Photo: 123rRF

The Health and Disability Commissioner today found a sonographer and a radiologist breached the patient's rights under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.

The woman had an abdominal scan in 2015, prompted by concerns that her levels of a hormone produced during pregnancy were low.

The sonographer could not confirm a foetal heartbeat on ultrasound, but did not offer a transvaginal scan that would have provided more information.

Arrangements were made for a procedure if the woman did not miscarry naturally.

The day this was due to happen, the woman asked for a further ultrasound for her peace of mind.

The new test showed the foetus was viable, and the pregnancy continued.

The Commissioner today made a range of recommendations for the DHB, the sonographer and the radiologist, including apologies and audits of their work.