Woman Died After Amniocentesis Test

Infected by Bacteria During Antenatal Procedure

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WARRINGTON, England, MAR. 20, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A pregnant woman died after she was infected by a deadly form of E. coli bacteria during an amniocentesis test, BBC reported.

Warrington Coroners Court heard that Jane McCarthy, 33, fell ill after undergoing the antenatal test last May. She is believed to be the second person to die after contracting E. coli infection in this way.

The amniocentesis test allows doctors to determine whether a baby is at risk of genetic disorders by analyzing fluid taken from around the unborn child.

Gynecological expert Michael McCormack told the inquest it was likely the E. coli had got into McCarthy´s abdomen when the amniocentesis needle accidentally perforated her bowel. But he added that it was also possible it may have happened when the needle pierced the amniotic sac.

McCarthy, of Great Sankey, Warrington, was admitted to casualty after complaining of labor pains just three hours after undergoing the procedure at Warrington General Hospital.

Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg concluded that McCarthy died from a cardiac arrest caused by septic shock, which in turn was caused by the amniocentesis procedure. He recorded a verdict of misadventure.

About 40,000 amniocentesis tests are carried out in the United Kingdom each year, with a miscarriage resulting in around 1% of cases, according to the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). If the test indicates that the unborn child has Down syndrome or some other chromosomal anomaly, abortion is usually the only option offered, SPUC added.

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