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Medical Negligence
Failed Termination

Failed Termination

Deciding to terminate a pregnancy is an incredibly difficult decision to make, and will invariably have a significant emotional impact on those involved. That is why if the termination is subsequently discovered to have failed, many will feel angry and upset. If this has happened to you, you need to know what action you should take next.

What Should Be Done Before A Termination?

Before a termination, medical staff should carry out a number of medical checks upon a patient. The first step should be to provide counselling, exploring the reasons behind the decision and explaining the other options (such as adoption). This will help someone choose the right option for them, ensuring it is not something which will later be regretted.

If a termination is decided upon, it should be organised without too much delay usually within seven days, and no longer than two weeks. At a pre-operative assessment, a woman should undergo:-

  • Chlamydia screening;
  • Blood tests (to check for infection and anaemia etc);
  • Advice on future contraception;
  • An ultrasound scan, but only if there is a question over gestation or a suspected abnormality with the pregnancy eg. extra-uterine pregnancy.

Why Might A Termination Fail?

The failure of a termination is quite rare, but nevertheless is a possibility. The first reason there be a failure is due to the type of procedure carried out, which will be determined by the length of gestation:-

  • Under 7 weeks medical termination (sometimes called the 'abortion pill');
  • Between 7-15 weeks surgical termination;
  • Over 15 weeks medical termination.

If the length of pregnancy is not correctly established, then it is possible the wrong type of procedure will be performed. Very occasionally this will result in the pregnancy not being successfully terminated. For example, if a surgical termination is carried out at less than 7 weeks, the foetus may be too small to remove.

Secondly, if a woman has a uterine abnormality, then this needs to be taken into account. Medical staff should take care to ascertain whether or not there are any pre-existing gynaecological problems, as this too could affect what type of procedure is elected. For example, if a woman has a bicornuate uterus (whereby the womb is an irregular shape with the upper part consisting of two 'horns') a surgical termination is likely to fail.

Medical Negligence and Failed Terminations

If you have undergone a termination procedure which failed, you need to establish who is to blame. If there is clear evidence that liability lies with medical professionals (for example, because your medical notes state you have a uterine abnormality) then you may have been the victim of a sub-standard level of care. In such a case, you need to speak to a medical negligence solicitor to discuss your options, as you may be able to claim compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your failed termination.

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Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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