Thirty three year old Michel Gonzalez of Corozal Town, Belize, came forth with claims that last week she went to the Northern Regional Hospital to deliver twins, but after her surgery she was told that she only gave birth to one baby, an eight-pound boy. The mother comes from a family with a history of multiple twins and has two ultrasounds, one local and another from an international lab, showing that she was expecting twins.
After Michel came out with her shocking story to the public, the Belize Ministry of Health released a statement into the findings, so far, in relations to her pregnancy. It indicated that further investigations are being carried out in order to get to the bottom of this strange case.
The press release from the Ministry of Health stated that the patient first visited the Corozal Community Hospital (CCH) on July 2, 2012, where she was diagnosed with 23 weeks gestational age by a medical officer and requested to do an ultrasound. At that time one fetus was noted. On her subsequent visit on August 15, 2012, the patient presented an ultrasound which she performed at a medical facility in Chetumal. This suggested twin pregnancy and the expected date of delivery of September 3rd, 2012. During this visit to the CCH, she was again re-evaluated and diagnosed with a twin pregnancy and also at high risk due to blood pressure complications. She was referred to the Northern Regional Hospital (NRH) in Orange Walk Town.
The release goes on by stating that Michel’s next doctor visit was on August 20, 2012 at NRH. Upon assessment, she was again informed that she was with twin pregnancy at 38 weeks gestational age by a second ultrasound which was done privately. The patient was advised and scheduled to do a C-section on September 3, 2012. She attended prenatal clinic twice thereafter, on the 23rd and the 30th of August. She was again assessed at the CCH with no change to her diagnosis.
On September 3, 2012, Michel was seen, evaluated and booked for C-Section at the NRH. On September 4, 2012, she gave birth to a single male fetus under normal conditions. It was, only, until then that the doctors discovered that it was not a twin but a single pregnancy. The client was immediately informed of this by the surgical team which included one obstetrician, two pediatricians, one anesthesiologist, one medical officer, one operating room nurse, one certified registered nurse anesthetist and one circulating nurse. She was given reassurance during her recovery in the maternity ward and was also offered counseling prior to being discharged on September 6, 2012 because of her grief since her expectation was not met.
Ultrasounds, like many other imaging diagnostic tests may have limitations. In the case of pregnancy, the older the gestational age the higher the probability of error in determining fetal growth and development.
The main concern of the Ministry of Health remains the health and wellness of the mother and her new baby. The ministry stated that it will continue the investigation in order to better counsel the mother and her family.