In 2014, Andrew and Catherine found out they were expecting their second baby together. They were thrilled because they wanted their son, Thomas, to potentially have a little sister. However, when they went in for their routine ultrasound at Salford Royal Hospital, the technician couldn’t find a heartbeat and they were advised to have an abortion.
She explained, “I’d gone along expecting to see a baby on the scan. I hadn’t been expecting bad news. So I was stunned to be told there was no heartbeat. I just burst into tears.” Unfortunately, Catherine’s doctors told her that her baby was already starting to disintegrate and that they had three options. She could have an abortion, wait for the baby to miscarry naturally or take a pill to induce labor.
Catherine said, “To say this has ruined my pregnancy would be an understatement. Our little girl is a much-wanted baby and we are extremely worried she won’t be born healthy. We can’t understand how doctors could have made such a big error.”
Unfortunately, Catherine chose to take the first dose of the deadly RU-486 abortion regimen, which contains mifepristone and blocks the hormone progesterone. At home, Catherine started experiencing heavy bleeding and two days later, reluctantly went to the hospital for the last dose of the abortion pill. But prior to taking misoprostol, the hospital did another scan to see if the mifepristone worked and detected her baby’s heartbeat.
Catherine said, “As she did the scan the woman looked concerned. She left and returned with a colleague. After pointing out something on the screen, the colleague nodded and left. The woman then turned to me and said she’d found a heartbeat and estimated I was around seven weeks pregnant. I was amazed and overjoyed. But seconds later I was overcome with shock because I began to worry about how the drug might have harmed my baby.”
“A consultant came in and said it was our decision, but due to the possible harm our baby may have suffered from the pill, it was still an option to continue with the abortion. However, there was no way, having seen my baby’s heart beating on a scan, I could carry on,” Catherine added.
To make matters worse doctors told the couple that the heavy bleeding Catherine suffered could have been a miscarriage of a possible twin who was killed by the abortion. Catherine said, “Because I had such a large bleed, I’ve since found out it might be I was pregnant with twins and did in fact miscarry one. That was very upsetting. Nobody knows for sure but it is heartbreaking to think I might have lost a baby over this. And I have been terrified since that I will lose my baby I am carrying now.”
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She concluded, “I just wish I had asked for another scan to check, especially as I’d had no other sign anything was amiss with the pregnancy. Doctors explained the drug can be linked to birth defects. Some of these might not be immediately noticeable and will only show as our daughter grows. But there’s been hardly any research. I’ve been reassured she is growing as expected and I feel happier now I can feel her kicking. But doctors can’t check for everything. We have found ourselves in a nightmare situation which could have been avoided. We only hope getting this out into the open will ensure no one suffers as we have.”
Thankfully, the National Health Service is launching an investigation into the incident. The executive director at Salford Royal Hospital said, “We again apologize unreservedly to Mrs Urhegyi for the error and the distress this has undoubtedly caused. We immediately launched an investigation to understand how the incident happened and how we could prevent it occurring again.”