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Unborn life lost in Royal Cornwall Hospital op blunder

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 21, 2012

Royal Cornwall Hospital

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A MOTHER of three girls who underwent a hysterectomy was told by doctors they had also aborted the boy she had always wanted – but did not know she was carrying.

Devastated Suzanne Doherty, 42, from St Mabyn, had an operation for a gynaecological condition but was unaware she was 14 weeks' pregnant.

Medical staff also failed to spot the unborn foetus and she was sent for a hysterectomy to remove her uterus.

The procedure meant the unborn baby died and when she woke up doctors were forced to explain a foetus had been found and terminated.

She has now been awarded a £62,000 payout after the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro admitted liability and a "catalogue of errors''.

Mrs Doherty said the ordeal left her suffering depression which caused her to lose her job following the blunder in 2007.

She said: "'I was told the operation had been a success but unfortunately a foetus had been discovered and that the foetus had been terminated.

"I was told with just the curtains pulled, so there were other people in the bay that heard what had happened.

"It shouldn't happen in this day and age. There are so many checks. It shouldn't get to the point where a pregnancy was missed."'

After the operation she was physically well but suffered long bouts of depression.

She said: "I would go back to work and then I wouldn't be able to handle it and I would be off again, which ended with me having to lose my job.

"Knowing the fact that we've got three girls and we could have had a son, that was absolutely devastating.

"It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I have accepted what has happened, but it has taken five years.''

Her solicitor, Charlotte Skouby, said the trust had admitted the pregnancy "could and should have been diagnosed at the point when it was still viable".

She said: "This would have enabled our client to go on to term and deliver a much-wanted baby boy."

Mrs Doherty was given her payout after the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said it would "not tolerate poor clinical practice".

Lezli Boswell, the trust's chief executive, wrote a personal letter of apology.

She said: "I am deeply sorry to hear about any anxiety, pain or distress caused to our patients."

Mrs Doherty added: "The apology from the chief executive has made us feel they've acknowledged they've made serious errors.''

The case follows revelations that 1,500 patients of the hospital's gynaecology consultant, Rob Jones, are having their cases reviewed.

The consultant, who delivered Prime Minister David Cameron's daughter Florence in 2010, has since resigned and removed his name from the medical register.

A review ordered by the hospital's trust is due to report back by the end of the year.

It is not known if Mr Jones was involved with Suzanne's care.

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