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Mother of three girls had hysterectomy only to be told afterwards she was pregnant and doctors aborted the son she always wanted Suzanne Doherty paid 62,000 in compensation after experts failed to spot the unborn child in her womb before the major operationShe woke up to be told she had been 14 weeks pregnant but the child had been abortedRoyal Cornwall Hospital in Truro apologise for the botched operation
David Cameron's youngest child Florence was born there in 2010
01:00 GMT, 18 December 2012
A mother of three girls had a hysterectomy only to be told by doctors afterwards that while she slept they had also aborted the son she had always wanted but did not know she was carrying.
Suzanne Doherty, 42, woke after surgery to be told the baby boy she always wanted had been terminated.
Mrs Doherty was left suffering from depression after the operation, performed at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.
Devastated: Suzanne Doherty, 42, had an operation for a gynaecological condition but was unaware she was 14 weeks pregnant
Heinous error: Mrs Doherty was only told she was pregnant when she woke up by doctors who explained a foetus had been found and terminated
She was unaware she was 14 weeks pregnant. Medical staff also failed to spot the unborn foetus, despite a consultant noting that Mrs Doherty’s uterus was abnormally large before the operation.
The procedure meant the unborn baby died. Mrs Doherty was awarded 62,000 after the hospital admitted liability and a ‘catalogue of errors’.
Rob Jones, the consultant gynaecologist at the hospital who delivered the Prime Minister’s daughter Florence in 2010, is currently being investigated for misconduct and has resigned and removed his name from the medical register.
Blunder: Suzanne went to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro for a hysterectomy only to be told afterwards she was pregnant and they had aborted a son she never knew she was having
Some 1,500 of his patients are having their cases reviewed but it is not clear whether he was specifically involved in Mrs Doherty’s care.
Mrs Doherty, who lives in St Mabyn, Cornwall, said the ordeal of the operation in 2007 sent her into a spiral of depression and she eventually lost her job as a result.
She said: ‘I was told the operation had been a success but unfortunately a foetus had been discovered and that the foetus had been terminated. I was told with just the curtains pulled, so there were other people in the bay that heard what had happened.
Famous: David Cameron's wife Samantha had their baby Florence at the Royal Cornwall in 2010
‘It shouldn’t happen in this day and age. There are so many checks. It shouldn’t get to the point where a pregnancy was missed.’
Mrs Doherty said that following the operation she was physically well but had ‘long bouts of quite bad depression’.
She said: ‘I would go back to work and then I wouldn’t be able to handle it and I would be off again, which ended with me having to lose my job. Knowing the fact that we’ve got three girls and we could have had a son, that was absolutely devastating.
‘It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I have accepted what has happened.
Happy: David Cameron outside the hospital spoke of how happy he was with the care his wife and baby received – but bosses admitted some terrible errors in the case of Suzanne Doherty
‘The money we can use for the children. But that’s never going to bring my son back.’ Her solicitor, Charlotte Skouby, said: ‘Following the removal of our client’s cervix a 14-week-old foetus was discovered and the pregnancy diagnosed at which point, tragically, the pregnancy was no longer viable.
‘The responsible NHS trust admitted the fact of the inadvertent termination and that the diagnosis of the pregnancy could and should have been made at the point when it was still viable, thus enabling our client to go on to term and deliver a much wanted baby boy.’
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised.
Lezli Boswell, the trust’s chief executive, said: ‘I am deeply sorry to hear about any anxiety, pain or distress caused to our patients.’