The Medical Council of Ireland has found a doctor in South Tipperary General hospital not guilty on 7 counts of poor performance.
The doctor, who could not be named for legal reasons, was accused of misdiagnosing an ectopic pregnancy. It is claimed by this diagnosis lead to the termination of a potentially viable embryo.
During the hearing of the Medical Council Fitness to Practice Inquiry, the committee heard that Laura Esmonde, a Tipperary mother of three, attended the hospital in 2013 with a swollen leg. Ms Esmonde had a medical history including a lung clot a number of years previous.
Following medical examination, it was found Ms Esmonde was pregnant. A number of scans followed on her leg showing not clot existed. Learning of her prenancy, Ms Esmonde requested an ultrasound scan to see the baby which she had learned of.
The sonographer on duty carried out the scan and claimed no embryo was visible and requested assistance from the consultant radiologist. It was at this stage Ms Esmonde learned about the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy.
The inquiry heard that the doctor in question carried out the scan according to Ms Esmonde, and told her she had “an ectopic pregnancy of unknown location”. As a result of the news and to protect the patient, Ms Esmonde was given a drug to remove the suspected ectopic pregnacy which some claimed could have been a potentially viable pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy is where the embryo is located outside the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tube. Should the embryo grow in this location, the most common complication is rupture with internal bleeding which may lead to hypovolemic shock. Death from rupture is still the leading cause of death in the first trimester of the pregnancy.
The Medical Council has found the doctor was not guilty of seven counts of poor professional performance.
Dr Michael Ryan, the chair of the inquiry, said the doctor was correct to make a diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy, given the circumstances and information available to him at the time.