"Upset by nurse's attitude during suspected miscarriage"

About: William Harvey Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

On a Tuesday at the end of January, I finally discovered I was pregnant for the first time. On the following Sunday I started having cramping and a slight brown bleed which as I had never been pregnant before, I did not know if this was normal or not.

We went to the A and E at the William Harvey, where I spent three hours waiting to be seen. I was finally called into the side room where the assessment nurse took my details and blood pressure before handing me a plastic cup, walked me into the emergency ward and told me to provide a urine sample.

When I came out she had disappeared and a young nurse told me that I should wait where I was as someone would come back to collect it from me.

After five minutes she stomped up to me, told me that there was 'no point me standing there as its obvious no one would be coming' and to hand it over to her.

After another forty minutes or so I was finally called into the minor injuries section where the nurse quite frankly exhibited disgusting behaviour.

She sat me on a bed and asked why I was there. I explained the bleeding and cramps and while I was doing so she just kept rolling her eyes at me. She then interrupted me bluntly by asking "how do you even know your pregnant?" I explained in the past week I had taken eight separate tests from different brands, which showed a strong second line.

Again she interrupted me by stating that my hormone level from the earlier urine sample had come back negative and while "she wasn't going to call me a liar but she had no proof I'd ever been pregnant. "

I fully appreciate that my urine sample may have shown a negative but that does not automatically imply I am a fabricating my positive result and quite frankly, in my view, when someone says "I'm not calling you a liar but..." It does mean they are calling you a liar.

When I asked how I could get so many positives, if I wasn't ever pregnant, she started saying that I could have been once before but I wasn't any more.

Unfortunately my partner and I were devastated by the news, as I'm sure you can imagine. Instead of playing a sympathetic role of a care giver, she just stood there blithering on about what had happened to her once before.

She never once used any phrases like chemical pregnancy or miscarriage to explain a possibility of what was happening to me, but instead was exceptionally cryptic and vague and when I asked what had happened and if it was definite from my urine she snapped at me "well what tests would you like me to do then?"

As a trained medical professional, surely she would have been trained to show sympathy to patients, for the well being of the patient?

In the end I became too upset with the whole thing and the level of understanding shown began to make things worse, so I just left.

She didn't suggest things to look out for, what I might expect or if I should go back to my doctor at a later date.

She allowed me to leave the hospital with heavier bleeding than when I came in.

I still don't know if I had a miscarriage or chemical pregnancy. If I didn't, then how did I manage to get so many positives during the week? I have a million unanswered questions and feel I can't go to anyone trained because I was called a liar.

I appreciate everyone is overworked, understaffed and underpaid but that was disgusting. I understand it was really busy that evening and she had lots of things to do, but to me, I'd waited patiently to be seen like everyone else. I expect a certain level of care.

I have learnt more about my symptoms from the Internet, than the five minute conversation I had with this insensitive, unsympathetic nurse.

I feel that she made a horrible situation even worse.

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Responses

Response from Julie Pearce, Chief Nurse + Director of Quality + Operations, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust We have made a change

I am really sorry to hear of your experiences at WHH at a very sad and stressful time for you and your partner. If you feel able, I would like to talk with you some more about your experience and to offer you my apology in person.

I feel it is important that the staff involved receive constructive feedback about the consequences of their lack of care and compassion on you and your partner. I am running ' In Your Shoes' events for staff to listen to patients. These opportunities have had a big impact on staff.

If you feel able to contact me on Julie.pearce1@nhs.net then we can agree together what would be helpful to you.

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with feedback.

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