"A late miscarriage at 20 weeks"

About: Croydon University Hospital / Gynaecology Croydon University Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

I was diagnosed with a late Miscarriage at the 20 week anomaly scan as their was no foetal heartbeat. It was a massive shock as their was no warning and the 12 week scan had been perfect.

A second ultrasound technician came in to confirm no heartbeat and I was asked to go back the next day to see the doctor to talk about induction.

The next day, after a sleepless night, I asked if I could have one more check for a heartbeat before taking the tablets to induce labour as I was finding it so hard to believe, (I think I was just in absolute shock the day before when the second technician came into the room).

The doctor I saw told me I'd had two opinions and it was absolutely impossible for me to have another check. I found this very difficult indeed. It would seem to me with the time and energy it would have taken, it would have been a real kindness to allow this. In fact, until the post mortem results came back 6 weeks later (which showed the baby had deceased before labour), I continued to worry that I had killed my baby by not insisting on this.

The doctor gave me some tablets to take and told to come back in 48 hours for the second lot of tablets that would induce labour. I was asked to attend at 10am but to ring first to check a bed was available.

Unfortunately no bed was available until 8pm that evening, which meant my husband and I had an agonising 10 hour wait at home that day, knowing what we would have to go through when we finally got to the hospital.

I was induced and gave birth after a couple of hours. From the time the tablets were given until the baby was born no-one came back into the room to check on us. I had been advised not to see the baby when it would be born as it had been dead several weeks and would have deteriorated. It was therefore very distressing to find ourselves alone in the room giving birth to the baby with no-one to help or advise us.

During this time I had also been left with the post mortem consent forms to fill in, which are quite long and detailed (it goes into specifics about which organs etc can be tested/retained etc for several pages). This is not something a woman should be left alone to complete during labour of a wanted but deceased baby, in my opinion.

I did not deliver the placenta and had to go to theatre for an ERPC after several doctors had attempted manual removal.

Whilst waiting to go to theatre I asked one of the doctors if I could use the toilet normally as when I was given the tablets earlier I had been told not to use the toilet without a cardboard insert over it in case I passed the baby. The doctor said it was now fine as there was no way anything else would come out before surgery. I went to the toilet and a lot of material suddenly came out down the toilet. My husband rang the bell and a nurse came who was then quite aggressive with me for using the toilet.

I was quite distressed going down to theatre and the staff in the anaesthetic room were very kind to me and did their best to comfort me.

After the ERPC I was allowed home the following lunchtime.

I was given no counselling or help before I left, but I was told that the bereavement midwife would be in touch. We did not hear from this person, and although we contacted their office several times to try and make an appointment they never contacted us.

I feel the surgical care I received was good, but the nursing/caring side of things was really very poor.

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Response from Croydon University Hospital

We’ve very sorry to hear about your experience with us and our thoughts are with you at what must be a very difficult time. We strive to deliver high quality, compassionate care to all of our patients and we are sorry that you did not receive the care and support which you were right to expect from us. We have passed on your comments to the senior management of the hospital who oversee the teams that treated you. They will look into what happened to you and we will take steps to make sure that it does not happen again; we have also passed your comments on to the bereavement midwifery team who will attempt to identify you and get in touch. We appreciate that you may wish to put this incident behind you, but we would like to offer you the opportunity to speak to one of the senior team who treated you so that they can apologise in person and to keep you abreast of the actions that we will be taking. If you would like to do this, please contact our PALS team on 020 8401 3210 or talktous@croydonhealth.nhs.uk; we have made them aware of your posting and are waiting for your call.”

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