A 43-year-old Japanese woman was evaluated in the outpatient department for right shoulder pain and fever, which began 5 days earlier. MRI of the right shoulder revealed a high-intensity area deep in the right trapezius muscle. Aspiration revealed purulent fluid, and Gram staining of the fluid showed Gram-negative bacilli. The patient was also found to be profoundly anaemic and to have a positive urine pregnancy test. On admission, we initiated intravenous ampicillin-sulbactam and aztreonam. She underwent dilatation and curettage for septic abortion and surgical drainage of the right shoulder abscess. Bacteroides fragilis was isolated from the blood, uterine aspiration and abscess samples. On hospital day 4, a whole-body CT scan revealed no other abscesses, and ampicillin-sulbactam was continued for 28 days. The patient was discharged on hospital day 29. Gram staining is an important tool for evaluating infectious aetiologies.