Failure to Diagnose Pregnancy Leads to Invasive Emergency Surgery, According to Patient’s Lawsuit

hospital.jpgExperiencing the kind of pain or illness that is bad enough to lead you to the emergency room is bad enough. When the medical providers whose assistance you seek fail to run the necessary tests to determine an accurate diagnosis, and you require invasive, emergency surgery two months later, that is certainly far worse. But that is exactly what happened to a woman when she visited a Jefferson Parish hospital recently, according to a medical lawsuit she filed in state court in Gretna.

Delores Penman-Sisson’s medical odyssey started with a bout of extreme nausea, vomiting and lower abdominal pain. She traveled to the East Jefferson General Hospital’s emergency room for assistance. While there, the staff allegedly administered several pregnancy tests that involved analyzing a sample of urine. However, because the woman had an ovarian cyst, she could not provide an adequate urine sample to yield a conclusive test. In addition to urine-based pregnancy tests, another type of pregnancy test analyzed the woman’s blood.

Two months later, medical professionals determined that the woman actually was pregnant. She had an ectopic pregnancy. In a normal pregnancy, a fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the mother’s uterus. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus. The most common type of ectopic pregnancy occurs in the fallopian tubes (known as a “tubal pregnancy,”) but ectopic pregnancies may also occur in the abdominal cavity, ovary or cervix.


Penman-Sisson’s condition required emergency surgery. If a medical provider diagnoses an ectopic pregnancy early enough, the problem may be resolved using a laparoscopic surgical procedure. More advanced ectopic pregnancies that require emergency action usually involve a laparotomy procedure. Laparotomies involve larger incisions, take longer and require longer hospital stays, and are generally more invasive than treatments available with early diagnosis.

The woman sued the hospital alleging that the doctors there committed malpractice. The lawsuit alleged that the hospital’s staff failed to meet the required standard of care by missing the pregnancy diagnosis, and also “failed to adequately document the urine output of the patient, and failed to prevent a test results mix-up,” according to the Louisiana Record.

The patient and her husband (who is also suing the hospital) seek damages for “pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, loss of earning capacity and medical expenses,” the Record stated.

Every time a medical provider offers services to a patient, he/she had a legal obligation to provide at least a minimal accepted standard of care. If the provider acts in a way that falls below that standard (or, in some instances, fails to act), and harms the patient in the process, the patient is entitled under the law to recover compensation for those injuries. If you’ve been injured by a medical provider’s failure to diagnose your condition accurately, you owe it to yourself to find out more about your rights. To do so, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. We can help you analyze your case, and determine course of action to recover for your injuries.

For your confidential consultation contact us online or phone Cardone at 1-888-89-CARDONE (1-888-892-2736).

More Blog Posts:

Louisiana Robot Surgeries – Human-Error Still a Major Concern, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, July 27, 2013
Getting it Wrong – Louisiana Med Mal Cases, Often Result of Misdiagnosis, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, June 16, 2013
Photo credit: Arnold C at Wikimedia Commons.