Northern Ireland

Trust apologises after deaths of Carla McAdam and baby

The South Eastern Health Trust has apologised for the death of Bangor woman Carla McAdam and for failing to detect her pregnancy was not developing normally.

An inquest on Wednesday found she died after an ectopic pregnancy went undetected by doctors at the Ulster Hospital.

NI's chief coroner, John Leckey, said it failed to treat the mother and her unborn baby as separate patients. Dr Ann Hamilton of the trust said it was an extremely rare case.

Speaking on the Stephen Nolan programme on BBC Radio Ulster, Dr Hamilton apologised to the family on behalf of the trust.

She said none of the doctors who treated Ms McAdam had seen a similar case and that the expert witness at the inquest could only find two similar cases of "fallopian tube pregnancy" in "world literature".

"It is just to set it in context that this is not a normal ectopic pregnancy," she added.

Ms McAdam, 28, died on 25 September 2008 after suffering an ectopic pregnancy which went undetected.

The inquest heard there was an absence of dialogue between consultants and nurses at the hospital.

It heard that the mother and her unborn baby had been seen by a variety of consultants and midwives who failed to pass on critical notes about Ms McAdam to each other.

Mr Leckey said no-one seemed willing to take ownership of Ms McAdam's case.

He questioned whether it was good medical practice to treat mother and child separately.

Ms McAdam suffered massive internal bleeding due to the ruptured ectopic pregnancy.

In a statement, the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust said it wished to "express its deepest sympathy on the tragic death of Carla McAdam".

"Pregnancy is associated with many complications, some of which are life threatening," it added.

"As the Coroner has stated, this case was extremely rare and exceedingly difficult to diagnose. Lessons have been learnt and implemented from this situation."

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