Settlement for woman with severe ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome during IVF | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Settlement for woman with severe ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome during IVF

Emma Kendall has secured a settlement for a woman who developed severe ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS) after staff at the Lister Hospital gave her a drug during IVF treatment without consent.

Jane* went to the private fertility clinic after suffering two upsetting miscarriages from an initial round of IVF on the NHS. Her experience at the Lister has left her with such a fear of treatment that she now thinks she may never have a child. 

Jane told her clinician that she had experienced "unpleasant" symptoms of OHSS during the first round of IVF and was "explicit" that she wanted to avoid it again. However, following treatment she became increasingly unwell with abdominal pain, distention, nausea and lethargy. 

A scan revealed she was suffering from severe OHSS caused by the ovulation trigger drug Ovitrelle, which she said had been given without knowing its links to the syndrome after a first trigger drug failed to release any eggs. 

Jane spent six days at St Thomas' Hospital in great pain and when she asked her consultant from the Lister why they had administered the drug, she was told that to abandon the cycle would have been a "waste of eggs".

OHSS is an exaggerated response to excess hormones and if severe can cause difficulty breathing due to a build of fluid in the chest and the formation of blood clots in the legs or lungs. Ovitrelle may increase the risk of OHSS, particularly in women like Jane who have had it before. 

Jane was extremely upset by the experience, and it has taken her many months to recover from the physical effects, including hair loss, anaemia and fatigue. To help with the emotional impact of the experience she has sought help from a psychotherapist who suggested she had PTSD. 

She and her husband are desperate to be parents, but Jane, 39, says she has an "intrusive distrust" of IVF doctors" and a "deep fear" that her life will be endangered again if she has treatment. 

HCA Healthcare UK, which owns the Lister, denied clinical negligence but after lengthy negotiations, Emma secured a settlement for Jane. Counsel on the case was Amelia Williams at One Crown Office Row.

Jane said: "I highly recommend Fieldfisher, and specifically Emma Kendall there. Her patience and persistence delivered an excellent result. She was also very supportive throughout the process. I'm very grateful for her advice and I couldn’t recommend Emma enough."

* name changed 

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For further information about hospital negligence claims or medical negligence claims, please call Emma Kendall on 0330 460 6755 or email


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