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"I felt let down when I needed help the most"

About: Altnagelvin Area Hospital / Emergency department Altnagelvin Area Hospital / Gynaecology

(as a service user),

I had just registered with my new GP when moving from NHS England to HSE NI . Due to an admin error I was told I was not registered properly even though I received letters and emails saying I was so I was prevented from even accessing my doctor for an appointment or accessing EPU or any maternity services. ( previously diagnosed with recurrent miscarriages by a pervious hospital)

So in desperation had to rock up to ED to get a doctor to refer me to a maternity scan as I had previously been advised to have an early scan . 

Not surprising . I miscarried .

Firstly, may I add miscarriages are subjective and I would never dream of apportioning blame to this sad fact of life but what happened after was very distressing.

I delivered early in The ED. Staff were busy naturally. Baby / foetus, I had personally named him Michael,  was put into a vomit bowl. 

I was advised I was going to ward for a D&C / internal scan and it was a little bit undignified but I’m not sensitive just was concentrating on keeping my dead baby near to me. 

Then an unsympathetic doctor did an internal and tried to get me to leave ward 43. 

I had no one , I was still clutching my little pink bloody Michael in the vomit dish and in all my years have never felt so worthless. Reminded doctor that I had been given strong sedatives and pain relief which invalidates my insurance as they wanted me to drive home.  I had drove there when extreme pain and bleeding started . Didn’t give me 30 seconds to phone my fiancé who was working and practically handed me my jacket and directed me out of the mostly empty maternity ward. 

Distraught. They reluctantly decided I was right to stay and at 2am and a very long night said  a staff member said the supposed they could do bed & breakfast.. Of course every woman wants to go through the heartbreak and worry of yet another miscarriage just for a night in a hospital bed. Angrily I retaliated as I was horrified at the remark and told them I would be fine in the chair and no need to bring me breakfast in 5 hours as I wouldn’t want to waste resources.

I was so fatigued , distressed, sad , lonely and in shock I didn’t understand why i was treated this way. Till this day it haunts me. Then I was told by a very nice and competent doctor that I needed to fast and I would be going for a D&C and there were missed products of conception to come out and I was still bleeding . 

Then 24 hrs later they told me I wasn’t . In hindsight I should of insisted as a following infection has worried me furthermore as it was putrid.

I felt so let down when I needed help the most.

The hospital then sent my baby off for chromosomal testing and I was told I would get him back on in jan 2019 and to ring the morgue to see when his tiny remains were back . 

Jan, feb, March came and went . They had lost him and every time I rang people treated me like I was nuts. Staff I had spoken to directly involved hadn’t a clue what I was talking about. I felt I was going insane getting nowhere.

Finally I was advised in March that they had buried Michael in the baby graves in Ballyoan but I suspect to this day that this isn’t the whole truth. 


Response from Maureen Miller, Head Of Service Midwifery and Gynaecology, Women and Children's Services, Western Health & Social Care Trust 2 weeks ago
Maureen Miller
Head Of Service Midwifery and Gynaecology, Women and Children's Services,
Western Health & Social Care Trust
Submitted on 11/06/2021 at 12:41
Published on Care Opinion at 12:42

Dear Gulfstream

Thank you for sharing your story on Care Opinion, I am sorry for your loss. Baby loss at any stage of pregnancy is difficult. It is hard for the women, their partners and the wider family including children and friends. Sadly, miscarriage is the most common form of pregnancy loss, affecting one in four pregnancies.

Your message raises awareness of the impact of pregnancy and baby loss to start conversations and acknowledges that we as carers don’t always get it right.

The Trust has learnt lessons and changed processes over the past few years all of which are to ensure more support, information and resources to help at this critical time for women and their partners.

This has included clear pathways between Emergency Departments and Early pregnancy services [EPC] and the development of Nurse led EPC services Monday to Friday. EPC guidelines are under review at present

Thank you for sharing your difficult story, I will ensure it is shared with the Team and that we continue to look at experiences of miscarriage and pregnancy loss to improve our practice.

Wish best wishes,


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