A mother of two became pregnant after her birth control implant seems to have been lost in her arm.
Ebony Cole said her first two pregnancies were tough, so she and her husband decided to put off a third for a while. Her oldest child is starting kindergarten, and her youngest is only 7 months.
So Cole went to Kaiser Permanente medical office to be given the hormone implant Nexplanon. “My sisters tried it,” Cole told CBS4. “It was successful for the both of them, so I thought maybe it would work for me, too.”
Cole was reasonable to think so. The failure rate of the implant is 0.5 percent, and its manufacturer says it is 99 percent effective. As a type of long-acting reversible contraception, Nexplanon has been shown to be the most effective form of birth control available, based on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Merck, the company that manufactures the implant, says patients and nurses must confirm the implant has been inserted. “Immediately after the Nexplanon implant has been placed, you and your healthcare provider should check that the implant is in your arm by feeling for it,” the website instructs.
When Cole got the rod-shaped implant, she could feel it, she told CBS Denver. She left the medical center with a sticker confirming that it was successful and would be an effective birth control until 2018, reports Daily Mail.
But Cole’s certainty would be short-lived. In April, she went to the emergency room and they told her she was five weeks pregnant. Now more than 14 weeks pregnant, Cole is still looking for answers. Doctors from Kaiser Permanente tried to find the implant but could not
“They looked around in there with the ultrasound for a little while, then they used their fingers just to feel the area where they put it in at. They couldn’t find it,” she said.
Doctors gave her a blood test but found no trace of the hormone progestin in her system, the one that Nexplanon releases to prevent pregnancy.
With the results, doctors concluded the implant was no longer in Cole’s arm, but Cole disagrees. “I personally believe that it’s still there,” she said. “I watched you put it in my arm. I felt it after you got done putting it in my arm. I had it wrapped up, there were bandages around the bandage she put on it.”
In a statement to CBS4, Kaiser Permanente said, “The care and safety of our patients is our highest priority. Any concern raised involving a patient’s care is taken seriously and will be fully investigated.”
Cole worries her baby may be harmed by the hormones. According to the website, those who do get pregnant with the implant “have a slightly higher chance that the pregnancy will be ectopic (occurring outside the womb) than do women who do not use birth control. Ectopic pregnancies can cause serious internal bleeding, infertility, and even death.”
Photo Credit: Screenshot via CBS4