Doctors carried out an emergency caesarean section on a 48-year-old woman who was dying following a horror car crash – and discovered she was not pregnant.
Adele Barbour was struck when she pulled out in front of another car in Nettleham, Lincolnshire, on January 17 last year.
Emergency crews who arrived at the scene on Washdyke Lane noticed that Ms Barbour had a protruding stomach and thought that she was pregnant, according to Lincolnshire Live.
They did not realise the enlarged stomach was a result of major surgery to treat her spina bifida in 1975.
Ms Barbour, who was also diagnosed with chronic leukaemia in 2016, was rushed to hospital where doctors carried out the procedure.
She later died after a cardiac arrest at Lincoln County Hospital.
An inquest into Ms Barbour’s death at Lincoln Cathedral Centre heard Coroner Marianne Johnson raise questions regarding the actions of the emergency workers.
Witness Nicola Ware, an off-duty paramedic who works at East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) recalled that Ms Barbour, who was complaining of back pain, made no mention of being pregnant.
Paramedics from the private medical group, Elite EMS, and Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service (LIVES) soon arrived at the scene to help.
The inquest heard that the decision to take Ms Barbour to Lincoln County Hospital was down to her unstable state and repeat cardiac arrests, unavailability of the air ambulance, and the possibility that she may have been pregnant.
Emma Haskey, a clinical support manager at EMAS, told the inquest: “In a pre-alert to the hospital I informed them there was a female patient after a road traffic collision with a query to whether she was eight months pregnant and that I would update them with more information when I could.
“Later I was updated by the Emergency Operations Centre who told me that a C-section was carried out and the patient was found not to be pregnant.”
Sam Smith, also from EMAS, added to the inquest: “In my opinion from the evidence I don’t think that the crew could have done any more than they did.
“I would not recommend a different course of action.”
Ms Barbour’s sister, Sarah-Jane Spence said that doctors did not initially tell the family about the C-section, despite two chances to do so.
She said: “United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust have a duty of candour to be open and honest but they were not and that caused us additional heartache.
“I truly believe that the interests of everyone involved in her care was to save her life.
“But knowing the truth would have helped us with this process.”
The inquest continues.