05/04/2010 04:39 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Docs Perform Caesarean - But There's No Baby

Two doctors in North Carolina, USA, have been disciplined after they carried out a caesarean section on a woman who wasn't even pregnant.

The incident happened back in 2008 when the woman attended the Cape Fear Medical Centre in Fayetteville and asked for a C-section.

The doctors, Gerianne Geszler and Dorrette Grant, apparently tried to induce labour for two days before deciding to perform a caesarean.

They must have got the shock of their lives when they opened her up and found there was no baby there at all.

Apparently the woman was suffering from a "hysterical pregnancy", or what is medically known as psuedocyesis.

This is a psychiatric condition but can have actual physical symptoms such as the loss of periods, weight gain and even "labour" pains.

It can be highly convincing - but you'd think a doctor would be able to tell the difference, wouldn't you?

However, the doctors didn't examine the patient themselves, but relied on the diagnosis of a resident.

The North Carolina Medical Board told the doctors: "Your inappropriate reliance on their diagnosis and the failure to conduct your own examination were contributing factors in the unnecessary attempt at a caesarean delivery."

This view has been echoed by other experts. Dr Paul Paulman, assistant dean for clinical skills and quality at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, told ABC News: "You open someone's abdomen, you make darn sure you know what you're doing. It's a potentially life-changing event."

Both doctors have been issued with letters of reprimand but have not been suspended from practice.

Dr Grant is still working delivering babies at the same hospital, while Dr Geszler is still practicing medicine, although is no longer in obstetrics.

Dr Geszler told the Fayetteville Observer: "It wasn't something I thought I'd have to check behind somebody on. The bottom line is the woman convinced everybody she was pregnant."

What do you think? Have these doctors been punished enough?

Source: AOL News