Hospital master: Doctor right to diagnose ectopic pregnancy

The master of the Rotunda Hospital has told an inquiry that a doctor under review was right to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy and that conservative management of the case would have put the mother’s life at risk.

It is alleged at the Medical Council inquiry that in January 2013, a consultant obstetric and gynaecologist, identified as Dr A, mistook Laura Esmonde’s ovary for an ectopic pregnancy at Tipperary General Hospital.

Fergal Malone, Master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, who was called as an expert witness of behalf of the doctor, said that based on the information available to Dr A on the afternoon of January 8, an ectopic pregnancy was the most likely diagnosis.

He added that it was reasonable to exclude a viable pregnancy on January 8, given all the clinical factors.

He later added that the pregnancy was most likely an ectopic one, but that it was also possible that it was a non-viable intrauterine pregnancy. He said it was “highly, highly unlikely” that the pregnancy was a viable intrauterine one.

Prof Malone’s evidence contrasted with that given by the expert witness on behalf of the Medical Council.

On Monday, Dr Philip Owen said Dr A likely mistook Ms Esmonde’s ovary for an ectopic pregnancy before giving her the methotrexate.

The inquiry continues today.


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