Family claim Ipswich Hospital failed to diagnose daughter’s ovarian cyst
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
A family have lodged a formal complaint against Ipswich Hospital claiming it failed to diagnose their daughter’s ovarian cyst despite multiple visits to the accident and emergency department.
On September 1, seven-year-old Hannah Smith, from Chantry, Ipswich, underwent keyhole surgery at Addenbrooke’s Hospital after suffering months of abdominal pain.
Her mum Kara Skippings, 30, said they first took Hannah to A&E on June 9 after calling 111 but they were sent home with pain medication.
She said the next day, Hannah was in ‘agony’ so Kara rang for an ambulance. When paramedics arrived they gave her gas and air.
Kara says once they got to A&E, Hannah was given blood tests for appendicitis but the tests came back normal. She said doctors this time told her it was constipation.
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Kara said Hannah spent the night in the children’s ward and was seen by another doctor who examined her abdomen and asked about her bed-time routine.
“It felt like they thought she was playing up,” said Kara. “I asked them ‘why are you not doing a scan?’”
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Kara claims the doctor said it was constipation again and told Kara to give her daughter laxatives and pain relief.
Kara said she trusted the doctors so didn’t seek medical attention for Hannah until the end of August.
She said the pain relief and laxatives had meant Hannah’s abdominal pain came and went.
“I was so convinced by the doctors it was constipation I didn’t take her back,” she said. “I tried every old wives tale - prunes, brown sugar.”
Kara said they returned to A&E on August 31 but were told it was constipation again and told to go home.
“I told them it didn’t make sense and that I wasn’t happy so I said ‘get another doctor’, said Kara.
“Then a lady doctor came in, felt her tummy and said ‘something is wrong, she needs a scan’”
Kara then received the shocking news that Hannah had a cyst, 8cm in diameter, and that it would have to be removed immediately. A further scan at Addenbrooke’s showed the cyst was on one of Hannah’s ovaries and that she may need the ovary removed.
“They said they didn’t know whether she would be able to have children,” said Kara.
Kara claims the surgeon said Hannah had suffered internal bleeding and if the cyst had been smaller it would have been much easier to treat.
Hannah has now made a full recovery and did not need the ovary removed.
“I just want them to investigate why this happened,” said Kara.
“I just don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”
As spokeswoman for the hospital said they had started an investigation immediately after receiving the formal complaint.
She said: “We are very sorry Miss Skippings and her daughter feel they have had a poor experience of care at the hospital. This is not ever the standard of care we wish to provide.
“We want to give very high quality, compassionate care and are looking at this as a matter of emergency.”