Doctor’s failed to diagnose and treat chlamydia which has left a young woman infertile
Jennie* decided to attend her GP practice after she began suffering pain whilst passing urine. She advised her GP was also getting pain in her lower abdomen. Her GP suspected that she was suffering from a UTI and a urine sample was taken.
Around six months later, Jennie returned to her GP practice complaining of painful and irregular periods and as a result, her GP referred her for a transvaginal ultrasound scan. A few days later Jennie attended her local hospital with severe abdominal pains and an ultrasound scan was performed and an endocervical swab was taken. She was discharged with the diagnosis that she was likely suffering from polycystic ovaries.
Jennie’s microbiology results subsequently showed that she was, in fact, suffering from chlamydia, however, this diagnosis was not conveyed to Jennie or her GP, and no treatment plan was instigated.
One month later, Jennie attended her GP practice on two occasions complaining of pelvic pain and, on her second visit, she was referred to the gynaecology clinic for further investigation.
Several months on, Jennie attended her appointment at the clinic and upon review of her medical records and the microbiology result, she was diagnosed with chlamydia. She was provided with a course of antibiotics to treat the chlamydia and the following month underwent a laparoscopy. This, unfortunately, confirmed that she was suffering from adhesions secondary to pelvic inflammatory disease.
Unfortunately, Jennie still continues to suffer from lower abdominal pain and has been advised it is likely the pain is permanent. Jennie contacted Fletchers to bring a medical negligence claim and we obtained her medical records and a subsequent report from a Consultant Gynaecologist. These both supported Jennie’s case for medical negligence and the medical expert considered it was a breach of duty by the Trust in failing to inform Jennie of the microbiology result, which showed she had chlamydia.
Had Jennie received prompt treatment, this would have prevented the unfortunate formation of adhesions, chronic pelvic pain and reduced the risks of sub-fertility. The Trust admitted liability in full and we arranged for Jennie to undergo a hysterosalpingogram x-ray in order to establish if her fertility had been affected. Unfortunately, the results showed Jennie had right-sided hydrosalpinx, which has left her infertile. Should Jennie want to have children in the future, she will require IVF treatment to conceive.
We settled Jennie’s case for £72,500, which took into account the cost of two cycles of IVF, should she want to conceive in the future.
Hannah Hughes, a medical negligence lawyer at Fletchers, dealt with Jennie’s case and commented,
This case highlights the devastating consequences arising out of a failure to inform our customer of her abnormal test results. This infection simply could have been cleared with a course of antibiotics; instead, it was left undiagnosed and untreated for an additional five months resulting in a young woman being infertile. I hope this case prompts the Trust to put a robust procedure in place by which a doctor checks the results of tests received after a patient has been discharged to prevent this from happening to anyone else.
*Jennie’s name has been changed to protect her identity.