Saturday, March 21, 2015

After the Miscarriage was Misdiagnosed - One Mother's Letter to the Hospital and Their Response

Often when you find out that your diagnosed 'miscarriage' is actually a viable pregnancy, the shock and joy are overwhelming.  Many women continue on with their pregnancies and these doctors continue to misdiagnose miscarriages. 

Some women go on to write letters to their physicians and the hospitals or medical centers where they practice.  If we want to prevent misdiagnosed miscarriages, I think this is a great idea.

Several years ago, Kerry shared with me her misdiagnosed story and asked me to share it on The Misdiagnosed Miscarriage site: 

Later she emailed me to share that her baby boy had been born!  So exciting.  She also shared with me the letter she sent to the hospital as well as their response.  I asked permission to share this letter/response and she gladly gave it.  Hopefully this letter can help other women when they have been misdiagnosed.

Here is Kerry's e-mail to the hospital (I've blocked out any identifying dates and names blocked out for privacy reasons): 
Hi there,
If you could please pass this on to the manager of your obstetric ultrasound department it would be greatly appreciated.
This email is regarding an early pregnancy ultrasound that I had performed at your xxxxxx department on xx xxx xxxx, ref: xxxxxx (see attached scanned report)
Basically I was told that my ultrasound appearance at 6 weeks 5 days, was consistent with a blighted ovum but I’m now happily 17 weeks pregnant!  I understand that the doctor’s report (Dr xxxxx xxxxxx) needed to simply describe what the ultrasound found, however, I think they should have quantified their conclusion with a statement that these early scans can sometimes be wrong and that further monitoring is advised (given these early assessments have been wrong in the past and that there are some factors that can influence the image). For example, I had a tilted (retroverted) uterus which I wasn’t aware of until a later scan (and the lady performing my initial scan at xxxxxx didn’t notify me of this and I feel she should have, given this can interfere with the image and is quite a common occurrence especially in second pregnancies).
After doing some research on blighted ova, I found out that my story can be a rather common occurrence – they receive a few cases each month apparently, on the following website:
In conclusion,  I just wanted to write this email in the hope that future blighted ovum ultrasound reports may hopefully have a quantitative/explanatory note at the bottom of them, outlining that these early scans can sometimes be incorrect and for the patient to follow up with later scans if they want to. This is in the hope that people don’t rush out to have a curette performed (like I was intending to do) when they may indeed still be pregnant.
Thank you for your time.
Regards, Kerry

and I will share the hospital's response (again, I've blocked out any identifying names for privacy reasons):

(you may click on the image of the letter for easier reading)

We do know that dates are often one to two weeks of with a tilted uterus and, thankfully, more and more doctors seem to be recognizing this as well.  In fact, I excitedly blogged this last year when I found the American Pregnancy Association was finally acknowledging the link between the retroverted uterus and 'hidden' babies.  Here is that post:

Also, in reference to the letter, I also believe miracles happen but in the case of blighted ova being misdiagnosed, really, it's not so much a miracle when the baby is found as much as it is a patient doctor who waits until a growing gestational sac is at least 25mm before even suggesting a blighted ovum.

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