A mother who became pregnant after undergoing a sterilisation operation is suing Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust after she was advised to abort her baby.

Now, Nicole Casey, 33, from Southampton has been waiting for months for the hospital’s lawyers to respond to her claim that her operation wasn’t carried out correctly.

Nicole, who has five children aged between two and 16-years-old, decided to undergo the sterilisation operation in April 2006.

But she was shocked to discover she was pregnant with her sixth child just six months later. An operation by a different hospital to remove her fallopian tubes found the clamp used to close her right fallopian tube in the sterilisation operation had been placed incorrectly leading to the pregnancy.

Following the initial surprise she decided to go ahead with the pregnancy and took the view that it was meant to be.

However at her 12 week check-up the family discovered the baby had Gastroschisis, a condition where a hole in the abdominal wall and the intestines grow outside the body.

Nicole decided to continue with the pregnancy but she was later told by doctors she had a 50/50 chance of surviving and the baby had just a 2% chance. She was advised to terminate the pregnancy.

She said: “When I first found out I was pregnant I couldn’t believe it. We already had five children and I decided to get sterilised as we felt we had a big enough family. But once we set our minds to it we decided it was meant to be and began to get ready to bring another baby into the family.

“I was devastated to discover our unborn child was unhealthy and was heartbroken when doctors later advised me to terminate the pregnancy. It was appalling going through induced labour after my hopes had been raised.”

Calling for NHS to reintroduce tests on all women who undergo sterilisation to ensure the operation has been carried out correctly

Now Nicole is calling for the NHS to reintroduce tests on all women who undergo sterilisation to ensure the operation has been carried out correctly.

These tests are normal practice outside the UK and are carried out three months following the operation.

Nicole said: “I decided to instruct lawyers because we felt strongly that more checks should have taken place to ensure my sterilisation operation had worked. I don’t want anyone else going through the trauma we have had to face.”

Her lawyers Thompsons Solicitors wrote to the NHS Litigation Authority which acts for Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust in December 2008. Not having heard from them within the period allowed for a response Thompsons will be issuing court proceedings against the Trust.

Anne Osborn from Thompsons Solicitors added: “The Casey family have experienced every emotion possible during their ordeal from the shock to discover Nicole was pregnant, the joy and acceptance they were having a baby to the devastation that their baby was unhealthy.

“It should be a matter of priority to the Trust to ensure this family are given the empathy and respect they deserve.”