Mum wants hospital policy change after miscarrying at home
A GRIEVING mum, who was left to pass her undeveloped baby alone in her toilet, wants hospitals to change the way they care for expectant women who miscarry.
She is one of more than 500 people to have signed a petition calling for women to be given the option of staying in hospital should their pregnancy take a traumatic turn.
The woman, who did not want to be named, shared her confronting story in the hope it would help others.
The woman's ordeal began when she presented at Hervey Bay Hospital with bleeding early in her pregnancy.
The bleeding started during a family camping trip, and once home, the woman left her husband and children behind and went to the emergency department alone.
There, she was told there was a 90% chance her pregnancy wasn't viable and that she should go home and only return if she experienced severe bleeding.
Within 15 minutes of returning home, the woman, who was about 12 weeks pregnant, said she started bleeding heavily and had to sit on the toilet.
"I started losing a lot of blood. I couldn't get off the toilet to go to the hospital," she said.
While on the toilet she felt something plop into the toilet and when she looked, she saw it was the remains of what would have been her baby.
"It was quite surreal," she said.
The woman called her husband into the toilet and he was also distressed by what he saw.
The woman told the Chronicle she had been through through a miscarriage before, but had undergone a curette, so she was unprepared for the reality of seeing the remains of her baby.
She said she was shocked to find it was standard procedure to send women home to miscarry in the early stages of pregnancy and believed that had she stayed in hospital, a controlled environment and care would have made the process less traumatic.
She also felt that if she had been allowed to go through the miscarriage in hospital, there would have been more dignity for her baby.
After passing her pregnancy, the woman told her husband she just wanted to go to bed, but she woke up in the early hours of the morning bleeding heavily again.
She got back on the toilet and was sitting there, but then fainted and fell to the floor.
"I hurt my head and my hand," she said.
When she came to she woke up her husband, who said she was white as a ghost.
"I told him, 'we need to go to hospital'," she said.
At hospital an x-ray of her hand showed it was not broken but quite swollen.
"It was the most horrendous time of my life."
She said she knew while some women would prefer to go home, there should be a room at the hospital for women who wanted to stay.
She said she had been told by the hospital that staying would not save the baby, but she was aware of that.
She was also surprised there was no offer of counselling after the miscarriage and claimed she was told the hospital wouldn't change its procedures.
"I know I'm not the first to go through this, but I really hope I'm the last," she said.
The woman said her husband had been strong for her, but the trauma of the experience had "hit him hard".
"If I had been at hospital it would have been easier to cope with," she said.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service District Director of Medical Services Dr Greg Coffey said the service had apologised to the patient "that her experience did not meet the standard she expected".
"We take all complaints seriously and always strive to provide the best possible experience," he said.
"Miscarriages are traumatic experiences for the mother, their partner and family.
"Unfortunately there is nothing health staff can do to stop a first-trimester miscarriage and many of these do occur at home.
"The standard clinical practice WBHHS follows is to keep a patient under our care if their pain and bleeding are severe or worsening and to discharge them if their pain and bleeding are under control.
"In either scenario we do our best to provide clinical and emotional support.
"WBHHS is always looking to improve and we will consider how we can improve patient access to information and information about miscarriages."