Following Up with the Hospital
Commonly asked questions
Other people had their blood monitored since leaving hospital. Should I?
If you are treated medically with methotrexate or if you had surgery where the Fallopian tube remains in place (salpingotomy), you need to have your blood or urine tested for hCG as the risk of persistent ectopic is greater. If you had your Fallopian tube removed, the risk is low and testing is not normally necessary. However, some doctors do carry out checks either prior to being discharged from hospital, or after a week or so, to make sure hormone levels are dropping.
Do I need a check-up with my GP, practice nurse, or hospital after my ectopic pregnancy?
You do not have to have a follow up appointment once it is confirmed that you are no longer at risk from your ectopic pregnancy. However, it is useful to check around six weeks to make sure all is well and that your periods are starting again.
Many hospitals, but not all, offer a follow up appointment. If you haven’t been given a follow up appointment at the hospital, your GP can do a post-operative check-up for you, but as long as you feel OK, there is no real medical need to see a doctor. You may find it beneficial to talk through what happened with a medical professional, and this is the most usual reason for wanting to see a doctor at this stage. If you have been allocated a follow up appointment at hospital this usually involves the doctor reviewing your medical notes, enquiring as to your health and recovery since the operation and discharging you. Only rarely will the doctor examine your tummy or look at your scars.
I am having a follow-up appointment. What should I ask?
We find that many people cannot remember the questions they were going to ask or even much of what was discussed at follow-up appointments. Do not be hard on yourself about this, as this is such an emotionally difficult time and there is so much to take in that it is usual to find the situation quite overwhelming.
We therefore recommend taking someone supportive with you to help remember what was discussed and also recommend you write any questions down. You could even write them out twice and give one list of questions to the doctor and keep the other yourself and mark them off, noting the replies as the doctor answers you. Some useful questions people often forget to ask are:
- did the doctor see any obvious reason why you had suffered the ectopic pregnancy at the time of surgery? For example, was there any damage to the Fallopian tube?
- did your remaining Fallopian tube look healthy and intact?
- how long would the doctor consider it reasonable for you to try to conceive without success before he/she would see you again?
- will you need a separate referral for this?
- if and when you are next pregnant, what sort of support or early pregnancy screening will be available to you? For example, can you self-refer directly to the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) as soon as you find out you are pregnant again?
I am not happy with my treatment. What should I do?
If you are not happy with the treatment your hospital has provided, you can contact your hospital’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). If you ring the hospital switchboard, they should be able to put you through. The volunteers at PALS will assist you in making a complaint or help you to get the relevant medical support from the hospital.
I want to look at my medical records. Can I request them?
Yes, you can. If you wish to view your health records, it may not be necessary for you to make a formal application to do so. Nothing in the law prevents health professionals from informally showing you your own records. You could make an informal request during a consultation, or by ringing the surgery or hospital and arranging a time to visit and see your records.
However, if you wish to make a formal request to see your health records under the Data Protection Act, you should apply in writing to the holder(s) of the records. If you wish to see your GP records, you should write directly to your GP or to the Practice Manager. If you wish to see your hospital records, you should write to your hospital Patients Services Manager or Medical Records Officer at the relevant NHS Trust. You may be charged a fee for this.