FILED IN: Tragic Endings

Pregnant woman dies after doctor removes wrong organ

Pregnant mother dies after doctor mistakenly removed ovary. Photo via Photo By Daniel Lobo via
Pregnant mother dies after doctor mistakenly removed ovary. Photo via Photo By Daniel Lobo via

A pregnant woman in London, England, died after an acute appendicitis episode landed her in the ER where a doctor removed her ovary instead of her appendix.

The Shropshire Star reported on Monday that the mother three, Maria De Jesus, 32, initially went to the hospital last October complaining of extreme stomach pains. At that time, De Jesus was admitted to Queen’s Hospital where Lead Surgeon Dr. Babatunde Coker recommended an appendectomy. Given that De Jesus was 20 weeks pregnant she asked for time to discuss the matter with her husband.

During an investigation into the tragedy, Dr. Coker said that he waited in the hospital cafeteria while De Jesus spoke with her husband but after waiting an extended period of time, he decided to go home. Coker testified during an investigation hearing at the hospital that he agreed to allow junior surgeon, Dr. Al Abed, perform the surgery and told Abed that he would be available if he needed  him.

Peter Horgan, a lawyer for the Fitness Practice Panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service told the investigation panel that Dr. Abed, “[R]emoved what he clearly believed to be the appendix. He clearly thought he had found it, removed it and gave it to a nurse.”

“In fact, this turned out to be Patient A’s right ovary,” Horgan continued.

Dr. Abed admitted to the panel that he failed to call for backup help after De Jesus started bleeding heavily after the procedure. After Abed got the bleeding under control, the hospital released her about a week later.

Several weeks after De Jesus went home, she came back to the hospital with the same complain — severe abdominal pains.  At that time, another doctor determined that De Jesus still had her appendix and discovered it was actually the pregnant woman’s ovary that was removed.

De Jesus gave birth to a stillborn baby early in November 2013 and died after physicians tried to correct the mistake, removing her appendix.

Coroner reports indicated that De Jesus died of organ failure and infection.

The ongoing investigation revealed on Monday that Dr. Al Abed had only been on staff three weeks when he performed De Jesus’ failed appendectomy and had limited experience with the procedure.