A prominent Connecticut gynecologist was fined $5,000 by the state medical examining board Tuesday for mistakenly removing the uterus of a pregnant woman.

In January 2011, Dr. Jonathan Foster failed to detect that the patient was pregnant before performing a laparoscopic hysterectomy, according to a consent order he signed in July. Foster apparently relied on the patient’s statement that she was not pregnant and failed to perform a blood test or ultrasound before operating. According to the AP, Foster did perform a urine pregnancy test, but the results could not be determined either way. State records do not show how far along the pregnancy was.

After the incident, Foster took a course to keep his certification in his specialty. He did not argue with the board’s findings and signed a consent order.

"Dr. Foster had a long discussion with the patient. … She represented that 'I am absolutely not pregnant,'" said Madonna Sacco, Foster’s attorney to the Hartford Courant. "We’re not blaming her. This was a woman who wanted to move forward with the procedure."

The procedure took place at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waturbury, according to Christopher Stan, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Health. The department’s investigation focused on Foster and did not include an investigation of the hospital.

Sacco said that Foster is still a member in good standing of St. Mary’s staff and that he met all of the standards for performing the procedure the hospital had in place in 2011. Foster has previously served as chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the hospital before his term was up.

A St. Mary’s spokeswoman declined to comment on the case because “this is an investigation between the state and the physician.”

In the past, St. Mary’s officials have said that its physicians do not perform abortions or tubal ligations as a Catholic hospital.

Hysterectomies are the second most frequently performed surgical procedure (after cesarean section) for U.S. women of reproductive age. A laparoscopic hysterectomy is a kind of minimally invasive surgery that is being slowly accepted in gynecology. More than 600,000 hysterectomies are performed every year in the U.S., and upward of 80 percent are abdominal surgeries. Doctors say many of these could be performed as laparoscopic or vaginal hysterectomies.