"Previous and current experiences at both..."

About: East Surrey Hospital

What I liked

Previous and current experiences at both the Early Pregnancy Unit and Antenatal Day Unit have been superb and in complete contrast with the care we received at the 12 week ultrasound, which is why I am recommending this hospital. However, I will not have any more ultrasounds there.

What could be improved

As a first time mum who had a scare very early on hence the contact with the Early Pregnancy Unit, I had been counting the days to my 12 week scan and was desperate to be reassured that the pregnancy was still a viable one. We arrived 10 minutes early for our 8:45 am appointment and were kept waiting until 9:10am by which time the tiny waiting area had filled up with women who were all much further along than I. One by one we were summoned to a side room which was opened out onto the main waiting area to be weighed so everyone could hear exactly what was going on. As I had just downed 2 litres of water in preparation for the scan, I said that I didn't wish to be weighed and my weight was in my pregnancy notes in any case. The staff member yelled through to the sonographer in an adjoining room that I didn't want my weight done who then yelled through to me that they had to do it. Meanwhile, about 6 or 7 pregnant ladies and their partners were listening to this and I felt like I was being humiliated. Eventually, I got called through to the sonographer. My husband and I had a few questions prepared to which she just just barked 'well I'll answer you in a minute, I'm doing this right now' - to which she didn't. It was decided that I needed an internal scan too as the baby was measuring a few days too early for the nuchal test, so I was sent to the toilet to empty my bladder. When I returned, there was another member of staff in the room too - the one who had taken my weight. No-one asked my husband or myself if it was OK for her to be there. The sonographer barked at me to remove all clothing from my lower body and lay down. They both just looked at me. I asked for something to cover myself up. I was handed a blue paper hand towel off a roll that was about 20cm long. No curtain was drawn or anything and I felt utterly wretched as I lay down. During this internal scan, the sonographer got hold of my lower love handle with the words (cont below)

Anything else?

"I need to wake baby up" without waiting for my consent and proceded to jiggle, push and mould my fat roll in her attempts. By now I was trying to avoid crying, I was just so humiliated. She still couldn't get the measurement she needed so tried the over the stomach scan again. This time she really hurt me, she was bearing down so hard. I actually said "I didn't realise this was going to hurt - or is it just me?" She just muttered under breath that it was me. Finally, it was decided that I would have to rebook the scan for a few days time. We tried to do this but was told at the desk that there were no available appointments until I was 14 weeks along - by which time we would have missed the test window for the nuchal test. I tried to explain to the lady (in this room with lots of heavily pregnant women avidly listening) that I wanted the test doing because if there was a problem we would consider terminating the pregnancy and didn't want to leave it a whole another 3 weeks. She insisted there was nothing available. By this time I was very tearful and we left the hospital. I immediately organised a private scan for 5 days later. At 5pm that day after he private scan had been booked, ESH phoned me and said that the appointment I had booked would be useless as I'd miss the nuchal testing window and offered me an alternative date for 2 weeks time - which would still have been cutting it fine We kept the private appointment and the difference in quality of care couldn't have been more different. We're just lucky we were able to fund this ourselves - but we shouldn't have been made to feel that this was our only option! Needless to say, I am having my anomaly scan done privately as I have no intention of ever letting that woman near me again. I was made to feel like I was just a lump of meat and an annoyance as I am overweight.

Story from NHS Choices

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