"Distressing and shocking experience of Ectopic Pregnancy tube removal "

About: Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

(as the patient),

I write this letter as I feel I have been treated appallingly by Queens’s hospital and would like some answers at why I was treated this way and why my situation seemed to be dismissed until it came to a near fatal stage.

I would like to start by saying. I am extremely good when it comes to pain as a 31 year old that has experienced Kidney stones from the age of 13, Gall stones, gall bladder infection and numerous operations in my years. So I know when something is not right and I know when something is very painful, the only time I visit A&E is when I feel there is complete need to. I am very used to these sorts of bad pain and just get on with things. It takes a lot to grind me to a halt like this has.

Day One Last suspected period date 5 Weeks prior, Clear blue pregnancy test showed 2-3 weeks pregnant. I did a test as I knew something wasn't right. I had been passing brown blood for 9 days starting from the day after my period was due and I had a lot of pain in my side which I put down to kidney stones for a week prior to taking the test.

Next Day The pains had got a lot worse overnight so I took myself to A&E as again I knew something just wasn't right. I was given a urine test and was referred to the Early Pregnancy Unit at triage without any explanation as to what might be happening. On arrival at the unit I had a blood test and whilst talking to the doctor I got a very sharp stabbing pain again which made me have to stop talking and double up. I explained to the doctor this was in the same category as Kidney stone pain (as I have suffered with stones for many years). The doctor looked at me holding my side and said the pain is in the wrong place to be ectopic. I then had an internal scan which showed nothing and the doctor said that she would note it as a non-location pregnancy for today as it was possibly too early to see anything on a scan but to go back 48 hours late for another blood test to see if HCG levels had increased.

Day 4 Second blood test marked as urgent and I was told I would get a call with the results tomorrow evening.

Day 5 HCG levels up Scan booked for 3 days later.

Day 8 Still bleeding and still have pains. Another Internal scan done and again nothing could be seen. I was told that so far everything pointed in the direction of a healthy pregnancy and it may still be too early to see anything. Another blood test was taken. later that day I got a phone call saying my HCG levels were up again and I was being referred to a consultant.

Day 11 Consultant. Pain is still persistent. I had a tightening feeling in my stomach. Another internal scan done, still showing nothing. Booked another blood test for Day 15 and the next day.

Day 12 . Extremely bad pain, Unable to stand up shaking from head to toe. I called early pregnancy unit and they told me to go straight there. I got to the hospital at 12. 30pm. At 4. 30pm! ! ! I was finally taken notice of and given co-drydamol which I was very surprised about as this is a strong painkiller and I was pregnant. The painkillers did ease the pain off enough for me to at least sit up straight. I was called in to see the doctor who said if the pain has eased you can go home. I was shocked, my reply to this was so you are not going to examine me then or scan me I had already explained that I was due to be scanned in 4 days’ time. They told me there was no point scanning me as I was having another one soon and they were no good at scanning anyway so it’s not worth it. I insisted on being examined at least by hand. He said I can but if it was ectopic you wouldn't have walked in here he then half-heartedly examined my stomach by hand and told me to go home as everything was fine.

By 5. 30pm I was at home and my pain had become very severe. The worst it has been. I was crying in agony but could not go back to the hospital to be left in agony for 4 hours, uncomfortable and sent home again. I was very upset at how I had been treated. By 6pm I felt extremely ill and was vomiting. I went to the toilet and passed a clot which was very thick and very dark red/brown colour of about 1 ½ inches in size. After this the pain started to wear off. I thought that was it that I had miscarried my baby.

I was shocked that I was made to wait 4 hours without being acknowledged as the ward was well aware of my case as I had been there quite a lot over the last couple of weeks yet my notes were never retrieved. I felt this mistake of sending me home could have proved Fatal as I was to find out.

Day 15 Went for a blood test. HCG Levels were up again . I was told that tomorrow if nothing could be seen on the scan I would be given the methotrexate injection tomorrow.

Day 16 Another internal scan this time with the consultant, and 2 others present. I was scanned. The fetus was found in my right Fallopian tube. On finding this the consultant put his hands on his head and said oh no and started shaking his head. I told him I was at the hospital in severe pain on the previous Friday and they said I should never of been sent home and should have been examined. I was now too late for the methotrexate injection and I was told I was to come back at 7am for emergency surgery as they needed to remove the fetus and my tube which was very enlarged. I was told this would just be a day case and I would be home by late afternoon. I went home that night devastated as I had been enduring pain and emotional stress for 3 weeks before it come to this even though I stated from day 1 that I was in an incredible amount of pain.

Day 17 I arrived at 7am. I was given a form which asked if I wanted the hospital to incinerate the baby or I wanted it to be held to have a funeral. I took the form to sign and the lady that gave it to me looked at my notes and said Oh you don’t need that form as it’s not a miscarriage and then she took it away. My Mum come to wait with me and was waiting on the day unit until I returned from surgery. The operation was to take approximately 1 hour. I got taken down at and was wheeled in to theater half an hour later. 3 hours later I was told they were waiting for a bed to become available on the ward then I would be taken and kept in overnight. I then thought about my mum still waiting for me at the day surgery cubicle. I have been told by my mum and husband that no one knew what was happening with me after 3 hours they were not sure if I was still in theatre at was ill or had come out. My mum had tried asking but nobody knew where I was. My husband called the day unit 3 times after waiting 3 hours and was told on the 3rd time I was being kept in. My husband then contacted my mum who was still sitting by an empty bed awaiting her daughters return.

At 5pm I was taken to Corn Flower B ward where my mum, dad and husband were waiting for me. The next point of this letter is extremely hard to write. As I turned my head on my pillow I realized there was a specimen bottle next to my head. I picked it up thinking it must have been a urine sample and was going to place it on the table as I didn’t want my sample next to my head. I looked in the bottle where I was to find my removed fallopian tube with my baby clearly visible to me stuck in the tube. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There in front of my eyes was the baby that had just been taken away from me. You could clearly see it was a baby and it looked exactly like a 1st scan picture in real life. I was completely devastated. As were my family who couldn't quite believe it. My mum went and gave this back to a nurse and was apologized to.

The following day, a consultant come round to see me and apologized for the mistake that was made of the baby being left at my head. This just showed me what a huge mistake had been made as this is the 1st time I had seen this consultant and hadn't mentioned it. I was also told the tube had been leaking and was close to rupture before it was removed. Surely this should have been picked up on the Friday before when I came in as an emergency. If only they had scanned me. The mistake of not looking at me further could have proved fatal for me.

A nurse whose name is Lynn from the ward who I saw originally and she referred me to the consultant came to see me whilst I was in hospital as she see my name on a board and wanted to know how I was and what had happened. She couldn’t believe I was sent home on the Friday and why did no one look at my notes. I had no answers for this. Lynn was brilliant to me during my time going through this trauma.

Back home my mental health started to suffer. Every time I closed my eyes I could see the baby in the tube in a jar and started having a dream that they put the baby there next to me to keep it alive and I would soon be able to hold my baby. I was crying all the time and not sleeping at all. I carried on having the same dream every time I did try to nod off. Every time I closed my eyes I could see it. I started to become ill through stress and not sleeping. I was not talking or wanting to see anyone. On Day 31 I was still sobbing constantly and still having the same dream and not sleeping, I couldn't concentrate I couldn't watch the TV or read a book, I was literally staring into space, because of this. I made a doctor’s appointment. The doctor prescribed sedatives and said if I feel no better in a few weeks come back and I will be referred for counselling. I started to sleep while still having the dream every night and being woken by it, at least I was getting 2-3 hours’ sleep a night. I am still at the date of this letter mentally I am still finding day to day life hard to contend with. I came back to work on Day 45 to try and get a bit of normality back and to help my recovery. I seem to be sitting crying at my computer more than working. I think counseling is going to be the only way I can deal with the terrible thing that has happened. I do have an appointment with the nurse at my doctors as I have been told by my hairdresser how has 26 years’ experience that I have the beginnings of alopecia caused by stress.

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Response from Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

We were extremely sorry to hear about the distressing experience this patient went through at Queen’s Hospital.

We can confirm that the Trust has received a complaint highlighting all the issues and that we are currently undertaking a thorough investigation into every aspect of this complaint. We have been in contact with the patient and will keep her up-to-date with the investigation.

We take these matters very seriously and the investigation will be undertaken by a senior member of clinical staff who will be speaking to all staff that were involved in this patient’s care. It is understood there will be input from each of the departments the patient was seen by.

A full explanation will be forwarded to the patient when the investigation is fully complete.

Response from Ruth Bender Atik, National Director, The Miscarriage Association

Dear Sadperson

I am so very sorry to read about the loss of your baby. What a truly frightening and unhappy time you have had. I do hope that you are able to begin to recover from the trauma and distress of your experience with the help of counselling - and I hope too that the staff responsible for your hospital journey recognise just how badly it has affected you.

Do get in touch with us at the Miscarriage Association if you feel it might help to talk. You can call us on 01924 200799 or email us at info@miscarriageassociation.org.uk.

Wishing you gentler times ahead.


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