Dr Allison Bloom, who works at Main Line Fertility Clinic in Pennsylvania, unknowingly injected a patient with a syringe of acid instead of saline. The two bottles had been mixed up by the ultrasound technician
A medicine mix-up saw a doctor mistakenly inject flesh-burning acid into a woman’s vagina, leaving her with excruciating burns and disfigured genitals.
Christine, 33, a preschool teacher from Philadelphia, was undergoing a routine procedure on December 19, 2022, to check her fallopian tubes for blockages.
The treatment involves saline solution injected into the womb through the vagina, but Allison Bloom, a doctor at Main Line Fertility Clinic in Pennsylvania, injected her with flesh-burning acid instead after the ultrasound technician mixed up the fluids.
Now Christine and her husband’s dream of conceiving a baby hangs in the balance.
Main Line Fertility denied reckless conduct or other failings in recent court filings
Within seconds of the injection into her vagina, Christine felt searing pain and a burning sensation.
Christine told The Philadelphia Inquirer she kept saying to Dr Bloom, ‘Something is off. Something is wrong. Is it supposed to burn?’
The procedure, known as a saline infusion sonogram, only takes 15 minutes and was so routine she told her husband not to come.
But Dr Bloom ignored Christine’s complaints and told her: ‘No, it’s just saline.’
While Christine writhed in pain, Dr Bloom looked at the ultrasound monitor to see if the fluid flowed through Christine’s right fallopian tube.
Angry red welts started to appear on Christine’s inner thighs and legs after Dr Bloom finished the procedure and left the room.
Christine said it was the ‘worst thing I have ever experienced.’
The ultrasound technician rechecked the solution bottle and realized they had somehow put Trichloroacetic acid, at an 85 percent concentration, into the syringe instead of saline.
Saline and acid are both colorless liquids and would have been indistinguishable to the eye once in a syringe.
An error this bad is known as a ‘never event’ because it is preventable and should never happen.
Trichloroacetic acid is classified as a possible carcinogen and is so caustic that the fumes on their own can sting the nose and throat.
The agonizing pain in Christine’s abdomen and lower torso was later diagnosed as first- and second-degree internal and external chemical burns.
She has been left with a vagina disfigured by scar tissue resembling ‘leather’.
Main Line Fertility, which is not affiliated with Main Line Health, is still yet to apologize for the incident or explain how it messed up the procedure.
Christine and her husband, Jason, are after answers and monetary damages through a lawsuit filed in March in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Please, which claims the error occurred due to negligence, recklessness and failure to follow best practices.
Main Line Fertility denied reckless conduct or other failings in recent court filings.
It also said that Dr Bloom was not responsible for the acid being in the room and she did not fill the syringe.
A spokesperson for the clinic said it has now removed trichloroacetic acid from all offices and no longer uses it to treat patients.
A saline infusion sonogram involves injecting a syringe filled with saline into the uterus to check if the saline flows through the fallopian tubes or whether there is a blockage causing infertility.
When it was clear something had gone wrong, the clinic called an ambulance, and paramedics strapped Christine onto a gurney. She was still naked from the waist down and had no idea what was wrong.
She was confused when paramedics took her to a specialized burns unit because she thought she had had an allergic reaction to saline.
When a paramedic told her the doctor put acid instead of salt water through her, she said she did not believe him at first.