"Pregnancy and Miscarriage care at Kings College Hospital, Denmark Hill"

About: King's College Hospital (Denmark Hill) / Maternity

(as the patient),

I became pregnant in 2014. A home pregnancy test indicated I was 1-2 weeks pregnant but, as I didn't know the exact date of my last period, my GP insisted I go for an internal ultrasound at Kings College Hospital early birth unit. After waiting several hours to be seen, the Dr who performed the ultrasound told me I was actually 5-6 weeks pregnant. This really didn't tally with my ovulation dates but, as they supposedly knew what they were doing, I believed them. Despite their claim I was 5-6 weeks pregnant, they wanted me to come back in 2 weeks for a further dating scan.

When I returned for the second scan I saw a different Dr, who told me I was only 3 or 4 weeks pregnant. I asked whether it was easy to get the dates wrong, as the previous doctor had been very insistent I was further along than I thought. The Dr refused to answer me. I was asked to come for another scan in a few weeks, as it was too early for the scan to really show anything.

Unfortunately, I then suffered an incomplete miscarriage at just over 6 weeks. I went to the early pregnancy unit at Kings, as my other half insisted we need to go to hospital. What a mistake that was! First I was told I would have to come back the following day, as the unit didn't accept anyone who arrived after midday (it was about 12: 15pm at this stage). However, the receptionist took pity on me and asked whether I was there because I was bleeding. I said yes, I was having a miscarriage. She told me to take a seat and someone would see me.

So...I sat in the overcrowded and noisy waiting room surrounded by heavily pregnant women (many of whom had healthy babies and toddlers with them), bleeding heavily and waited over 3 hours to be seen. Eventually a nurse called my name and asked me for a urine sample, which is standard when going for a scan, but seemed pointless when I was having a miscarriage. I was too upset to question her need for this test and just did what she asked. I then had to go back and sit amongst the pregnant women. The nurse returned some time later and told me the urine sample showed I was pregnant. This really upset me. It seemed clear the receptionist had not told her the reason I was at the unit. I told the nurse I was having a miscarriage. Again I was asked to wait.

After yet more time, I was called by the nurse again, who asked me what were probably (in the hospital's view) relevant questions, but which I found unbearably difficult to answer, given my current state. In my opinion, her lack of general awareness and understanding was also personally offensive to me. e. g. when she asked me what my pain level was from 1 - 10 and I answered 10, I felt like she looked at me like I was an idiot and asked why I hadn't gone to A&E. I replied that once a miscarriage starts, there's nothing that can be done to stop it, so what was the point? After completely emotionally eviscerating me, I was then told to go back and sit with the pregnant women yet again. (You simply cannot understand how devastating it is to be in the process of having your baby die and being forced to sit amongst happy mothers to be and their offspring. )

After over 3 hours I was eventually seen by a doctor who performed an internal scan and confirmed I was having a miscarriage. They offered no information or support, other than saying if it didn't finish on its own I would have to have an operation (no further details were given). Whilst my other half cried in a corner and I sat silently so as not to cry, a different nurse came in and offered the first and only bit of empathy we would receive. She told us there was nothing we did wrong and asked if we'd been given any information about support available. She then handed us a photocopied leaflet. (I thought the leaflet itself was complete rubbish, but her compassion was appreciated. )

My experience with the majority of staff at Kings was so bad I was extremely nervous about returning this year, when I was pregnant again. I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and went for an initial booking appointment. The midwife was half an hour late, which neither acknowledged nor apologised for. The midwife didn't introduce herself; nor did the 2nd person in the room - to this day I've no idea if they were another midwife, a Dr, a student or just some random health professional. I thought the midwife was rude and they inaccurately filled out my maternity record, stating I'd agreed to procedures I declined, then I felt bullied they me into having unnecessary tests. It was all so appalling that I immediately booked a private midwife and will never go to Kings ever again.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››