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I know what you mean - I thought I was treated horribly. In fact I wrote a letter to the hospital...

There are two main areas of concern, the first relates to the attitude and manner of Mr K, from ward 5, and the second to the information sheet supplied by him entitled "Patient information leaflet on management of miscarriage" (copy enclosed). To turn to the former, having had a scan which confirmed that the there was no foetal heartbeat, we were shown to the "Day Room" of Ward 5 where we were told to wait as the doctor would be with us shortly. This room was actually being used by other patients who were looking at magazines while a member of staff busied herself with moving cups and mugs around. It was not private and it was not appropriate for someone having to deal with such devastating news. This would not have been so bad had we been dealt with quickly but we sat alone for approximately 20 minutes and no-one checked to see how we all were. We were understandably very distressed at hearing that our much-longed for baby had died,becoming increasingly anxious and wanted to go home - the waiting seemed interminable and none of us knew what to do. Eventually my mum went out on to Ward 5 and asked if anyone would come to see us soon.

As a result of my request Mr K eventually turned up to speak with us. We were shocked to hear not one word of kindness or any expression of sympathy towards us. Indeed, he sat at a table adjacent to us writing notes for what seemed an eternity without comment or eye contact. When he did speak he implied that the news was half expected as I had experienced a small bleed. This was far from the truth, I had attended Accident & Emergency just the day before when she was given a full internal and external examination by a Senior House Officer for Obstetrics & Gynaecology where she was advised that her cervix was high and closed - there was no indication that her pregnancy would not continue to develop as normal. Mr K then went on to say that it was a 9 week pregnancy. I corrected him and told him that it was an 11 week pregnancy. He had obviously not read my maternity notes which contained details of her pregnancy stage, nor did he listen to me as he continued to refer to it as a "9 week" pregnancy.

Mr K was off hand, seemingly unconcerned and showed no sympathy or understanding of the devasting effect of the news. He went on to state that I may need an operation to empty the uterus but that there was a danger of infection "but we'll give you antibiotics for that". I asked if there was a tablet / medication that she could take rather than have an operation. I was right in my request - there are two types of medication available as detailed on the Miscarriage Association website. However Mr K said "no, not really" and dismissed my query saying that there was a risk of severe pain and blood loss. Given that the information sheet advises that "major surgery and a further hospital stay" is a just one of the possible disadvantages of the operation he was proposing. I believe that I should have been made aware of all options available and that I should have a right to choose what is best for me. This would have been of particular importance for me as I have a medically recognised case of severe White-Coat Hypertension. What Mr K did say was that the other option was to go home and let nature take it's course and phone the ward if nothing had happened within 10 days. While I can appreciate that maybe there was a need for some professional detachment I feel that the whole thing could have been handled with far more sensitivity as we were all very upset.

The next morning after being up all night my husband rang the ward for help and reassurance as having suffered considerable pain and trauma I had clearly lost the foetus. I shall resist offering clinical details-he was informed that all was as had been expected:nothing could have been further from the truth. None of what she went through was on the information sheet-why not? We are both graduates and found more help on the internet-what of those less well educated? The leaflet is due for revision in September 2008 but I would suggest that this should be done immediately in view of my experience.

With reference to the Information Sheet:

there is no expression of sympathy at all
it is written as though from a student text book and is very matter of fact-it does not provide the information provided on numerous web sites.
no warning that the woman shouldn't be alone
no real preparation for the reality of what happens
no guidance eg. need to have pads, dark towels etc or whether tampons should be used
no information on pain killers or methods of pain management eg use of hot water bottles or explanation that the pain will be more severe than "period like pains" - I experienced contractions
no warning that things can happen very fast and be very severe
no guidance on what to do with any of the baby's remains
no advice about taking plenty of fluids

In addition, it would have been very helpful to have been given a pack, containing painkillers, pads and written advice. As well as contact numbers for the chaplain, PALS, midwife and Ward 5. All the contact numbers that I had were in her maternity booklet / notes which was kept by Ward 5 leaving me with no way to contact people who had been involved with my care. In addition, perhaps consideration could be given to an offer of hospital acknowledgement as to what has happened.

I don't know if it will make any difference but I felt that I had to do it for any woman going through what I did.

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