Pregnant Woman Died After Wrong Organ Removed

Maria De Jesus had appendicitis, but her right ovary was taken out

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 16, 2014 1:47 PM CDT

(Newser) – As far as medical mix-ups go, it's a horrifying one. In October 2011, a 32-year-old woman underwent an operation at Queen's Hospital outside of London; Maria De Jesus was suffering from appendicitis and needed to have her appendix removed. Instead, her right ovary was taken out, and De Jesus, who was 21 weeks pregnant with her fourth child at the time, ended up dying roughly three weeks later. The case is now in front of a medical tribunal, which is weighing the medical fates of the two doctors involved, then-trainee surgeon Dr. Yahya Al-Abed, and Dr. Babatunde Coker, who was supposed to be supervising him.

During the Oct. 23 surgery, De Jesus began to bleed "quite heavily. ... In the midst of this, Mr. Al-Abed removed what he clearly believed to be the appendix. He thought he found it, removed it, and gave to a nurse what later turned out to be Patient A's ovary," the tribunal heard. Coker, who was eating lunch at the time, was never summoned, nor was he aware the surgery was taking place. The mistake wasn't uncovered until much later. The Telegraph reports that De Jesus returned to the hospital in severe pain on Nov. 7; two days later another doctor realized she still had her appendix, and the next day she went into surgery to have it actually removed. Instead, she died on the OR table, having earlier delivered a stillborn boy. Her cause of death was ruled as multiple organ failure due to septicemia. The Press Association reports the hearing will likely last a month. (A New York man is suing over an appendix mix-up of his own.)

On the day she died, Maria De Jesus gave birth to a stillborn boy.   (Shutterstock)
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