An ectopic pregnancy which led to the death of the mother and her unborn child was dismissed as a urinary tract infection for months, a court heard yesterday.
Carla McAdam (28) was seven months pregnant and engaged to be married when she collapsed at her Bangor home in 2008, later dying in hospital with internal bleeding from a ruptured fallopian tube.
On the opening day of the inquest into her death, which is expected to last up to two weeks, senior coroner John Leckey heard evidence from Carla’s distraught family, including her mother Edna and fiancé Michael Reilly.
She appeared to have a hard lump on the right side of her abdomen, and was concerned that she was losing weight and didn’t have a prominent bump.
Her mother put Carla’s pain level at nine on a scale of one to 10, adding: “She was also very agitated, she was frightened. It was her first pregnancy and she didn’t really know what was happening to her.”
Carla was rushed to the accident and emergency unit at the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, twice during her pregnancy.
Neither time was she checked for an ectopic pregnancy, but told urinary tract infections were common among pregnant women and was the likely cause of her pain.
However, on the morning of September 25, 2008, an ambulance was called to the couple’s Bangor home. Carla was in severe pain and extremely distressed.
“She was screaming in pain,” said a visibly upset Michael. “She was fighting for breath and screaming.”
When paramedics arrived she lost consciousness and was taken to hospital where she died within 15 minutes of losing her baby.
Only a few months before, the couple had been referred to foetal medicine specialist Dr Paul Fogarty after a routine scan showed some anomalies. Mr Reilly claimed he was made to “feel like an idiot” when he asked if it could be an ectopic pregnancy.
This was contested by the legal team representing the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.