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Military couple heartbroken after losing fetus to medical error

A military couple was delighted to learn in 2011 that they were pregnant with their second child after months of trying. Unfortunately, their dream soon turned into a living nightmare because of medical malpractice. Here is their story:

The wife visited a military hospital on April 18, 2011 for a routine prenatal visit. She was believed to be about 11 weeks along. The trouble began when a midwife and then an ob-gyn could not find the fetus or detect a heartbeat after conducting two ultrasounds.

The midwife and ob-gyn concluded that it was likely that a molar pregnancy had occurred, which means there was no fetus, but instead a mass of cells that could lead to fast-spreading cancer if left unattended.

The midwife and ob-gyn ordered a third ultrasound in radiology and a chest X-ray. They said if a molar pregnancy was confirmed, the woman would need emergency surgery to remove it. They looked for a surgeon who could perform the procedure.

The woman had the ultrasound and said she was confused when the radiology tech gave her a big smile. The tech said the woman wouldn’t need the X-ray and told her to go discuss the results of the ultrasound with her ob-gyn.

However, the woman was intercepted by a hospital staff member who said a surgeon would be available to perform the procedure to remove the molar pregnancy during his lunch. The woman told the staff member what the lab tech had said, and the staff member assured the woman that the surgeon would go over the ultrasound results with her.

But that never happened. The surgeon never saw the third ultrasound, confirming that the fetus was healthy, and the fetus was removed. Hospital staff members and executives broke the news to the couple a few days later. They were heartbroken and confused.

The hospital has denied liability, and it has forced the couple to file a lawsuit. The couple wants answers, and they want to make sure this doesn’t happen again – to anyone.

Such is the case for many victims of medical malpractice. Sometimes a lawsuit is the only way to find out what went wrong and why. Sometimes it’s the only way to hold doctors and hospitals accountable for their negligent actions.

Source:, “Lawsuit: Pregnancy Lost Due to AF Doctor Error,” Elizabeth Simpson, Feb. 18, 2013