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NORTHUMBERLAND, UK, March 4, 2014 ( – Most people trust their doctor to make important medical decisions. Hazel Wiggins did not, and last August it saved the life of her unborn daughter, Amelia.

Eleven weeks pregnant and facing heavy bleeding, Wiggins went to Northumberland’s Hexham General Hospital. There, a 30-second scan showed that Wiggins had miscarried, and the baby had no heartbeat.

She was then advised to take a series of abortion pills in order to remove pregnancy tissue and the baby's remains.

Wiggins told The Daily Mail that she went home and spent most of the next 24 hours crying. Days later, she went to the hospital to take the first in the series of pills, but instead argued for 20 minutes with the midwives on duty, demanding a second scan.

The results were shocking. “I was telling the lady who was scanning me about what had happened when she stopped and looked at me, shocked,” said Wiggins. “She said, 'I have a baby here who is jumping all over the place, the baby is alive'.” 

Amelia was born on January 13, 2014. While she faced challenges – she was born with her liver and bowel on the outside of her body, along with respiratory problems – her health continues to improve. 

According to Adam Cassandra, communications manager for Human Life International, Wiggins' case is one of “medical professionals fail[ing] to do all that is possible to ensure that a mother doesn’t end up killing her own child based on flawed information.” 

“We have a natural tendency to trust what we’re told in a doctor’s office, but we cannot abdicate our responsibilities to ourselves and those in our care to make the best possible decisions,” said Cassandra. “This case is about more than just a serious, and near fatal error, made by one medical professional. What Ms. Wiggins and baby Amelia went through is emblematic of a culture that does not prioritize respect for human life.”

While misdiagnoses are rare, they are not unheard of. A baby born in Britain in 2010 was considered dead shortly after birth, despite 20 minutes of effort to save him by medical professionals, but after caressing and caring for him for two hours, his parents noticed he was breathing. And a couple who aborted their baby after a misdiagnosis of disability recently lost a lawsuit they filed. The lawsuit said they would not have aborted the child if the diagnosis had been correct.

The error has led to a change in policy for Northumbria NHS Healthcare Foundation Trust, which according to The Daily Mail “has apologized unreservedly for the distress caused to Mrs Wiggins.” All expectant mothers whose baby is shown to be dead after one scan will be automatically offered a second scan to verify the accuracy of the first test. 

Wiggins sued the trust, but settled out of court.


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