Third case of abortion 'without consent' at hospital

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POLICE are to investigate a third abortion allegedly conducted without the patient's permission during routine surgery at a Nottinghamshire hospital.

Amanda Flewitt, 29, was planning a third child when she entered King's Mill hospital, Sutton-in- Ashfield, in January 1993. A consultant said her chances of a successful pregnancy would be enhanced by an operation to evacuate her womb.

Mrs Flewitt, of Chaddesden, Derby, says she told the hospital she thought she was already pregnant. She had brought a urine sample to her consultation, and another was taken at King's Mill.

The operation was carried out the following day and she subsequently endured protracted bleeding. The hospital told her she must have been pregnant. Mrs Flewitt's womb has subsequently been removed.

'She asked before the operation about the results of the urine tests, and was told not to worry,' Patrick Booth, Mrs Flewitt's solicitor, claimed yesterday.

'She was later told she was pregnant, but the consultant who, unusually, carried out the operation has said he was unaware Mrs Flewitt wanted to become pregnant and had been told she was not.'

Mrs Flewitt, who is to be interviewed by the police shortly, is contemplating suing the hospital authorities for negligence. Two other women treated in the King's Mill gynaecological unit are considering similar action for damages.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is considering prosecuting Reginald Dixon, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, after an investigation by Nottinghamshire police into the abortion of an 11- week-old healthy foetus from Barbara Whiten, 35.

North Nottinghamshire health authority said Mr Dixon, who did not treat Mrs Flewitt, was continuing normal duties and had acted in good faith when treating Mrs Whiten, who had agreed to removal of her womb and ovaries because of a painful uterine complaint.

She had been told she could never have children. During surgery, her womb was found to be enlarged, raising the possibility that she was carrying a child. When Mrs Whiten's husband could not be contacted, Mr Dixon judged it appropriate to continue with the operation.

The CPS is understood to be considering charges of assault, or performing an illegal operation.

No comment was available yesterday from King's Mill hospital.