"Miscarriage care"

About: Southern General Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I had a private scan at 7+3 which showed I was measuring about 5 weeks, with an oversized yolk sac. I was 100% sure of my dates and there was no way I could be over 2 weeks out. The clinic gave me the details of the EPU for self-referral.

Called the EPU the next morning (still sobbing), and was told I'd need to make an appointment for 7-10 days' time - there was no point scanning me sooner because my dates could just be wrong. Tried to explain I knew for sure when I'd ovulated (from charting), and couldn't possibly have conceived so much later anyway because of when we'd had sex, but it didn't make any difference and I just got told again, we can't treat this as a non-viable pregnancy until another scan in 7-10 days. But they did then say they'd scan me that day to see if their scan agreed with the private clinic's.

Scanned again, now 7+4 - told I had what looked like a perfectly healthy pregnancy of 5+ weeks, and the yolk sac being really big was “not something you need to worry about”. I kept saying “but I can't be 5 weeks, that would mean I was getting positive pregnancy tests before conceiving! ”. The midwife said maybe the tests were all faulty then, but “now we've done a scan we have to go by what the scan says, and the scan says you're just over 5 weeks. " We went round and round in circles, and I kept asking if there was any chance it could work out okay if my dates were right, but I couldn't get any answer other than “lots of women get their dates wrong, don't worry. ”

They booked me in for another scan 7 days later. I asked about surgical/medical miscarriage treatment, was told that would be arranged after the next scan if I needed it, probably another 5-7 day wait after booking it. I asked if it could please please be booked sooner, and cancelled if I didn't need it, because I didn't know how I was going to cope with the wait, I felt like I was losing my mind already and so badly needed this to be over. No - they couldn't arrange anything until after the other scan.

I started to miscarry naturally a few days later anyway. It was pretty obvious what was happening - really painful cramps, heavy bright red bleeding with clots. I called the EPU to say I wouldn't be needing the other scan, and was told I should come in anyway because “maybe it's not a miscarriage, you don't know. ” But they agreed to let me rearrange the scan for when the bleeding was over, so if it was a miscarriage they could check it was complete.

A week or so later, still bleeding and in lots of pain physically and emotionally, I got a letter telling me when my booking-in appointment would be and another one giving the date of my 12-week scan. I just howled in pain.

I do think the EPU staff were trying to help me, and I understand they are bound by existing policies. They were really kind and supportive when they finally did confirm I'd miscarried. But it did not help me to hear “your dates are wrong, happens a lot” over and over again, when I knew that nothing short of time travel could make those dates add up. It just made me feel like nobody was listening to me, either about my knowledge of my own body or about how I just could not mentally cope with even more waiting in limbo. And even if they couldn't classify it as a miscarriage until they were 100% sure, surely measuring 2 weeks out plus oversized yolk sac plus days of heavy painful bleeding is likely enough to be a miscarriage that the letters about booking and 12-week scan could be put on hold, at least?

I have had a healthy pregnancy since, but I am now terrified of scans and totally unable to believe the sonographers and midwives when they say measurements etc look fine. I am so convinced now that if they see something *not* fine, they'll hide it from me, so I can't risk believing them.

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Response from Dougie Brownlie, Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) Marketing Officer, Citizens Advice Scotland

picture of Dougie Brownlie

Hi SusieQ2,

I have seen your post and noticed that there hadn’t been a response as yet by the NHS. I thought I would let you know about the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) which is an independent service which provides free, accessible and confidential information, advice and support to patients, their carers and families about NHS healthcare in Scotland.

You can access this service from any citizens advice bureau in Scotland by going to a bureau in person, or by telephone. The number is in the phone book. You can find more information about the service at www.patientadvicescotland.org.uk

We have specialist advisers in every health board area in Scotland and who will give advice on health related issues including the policies relating to issues concerning staff attitudes and/or policies. If required, a specialist adviser can meet you and work with you to draft a written letter to the relevant NHS area which will then raise this issue with the NHS.

On many occasions the NHS have changed their policies as a result of feedback from patients, so that nobody else will go through the same experience as you have in the future.

Hope this helps

Dougie Brownlie

PASS Marketing Officer

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Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Dear SusieQ2

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to post to Patient Opinion following such a difficult time. We are very sorry that you have experienced a miscarriage, and are very sorry that you didnt feel you were well supported and communication was not as it should have been throughout this difficult situation.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and I would like to re-assure you that the Board takes all comments and concerns received very seriously and uses them to improve the services that we provide. Your comments have been passed on to Maternity Services and if you would like to discuss your concerns please do not hesitate to contact Diane Paterson, Lead Midwife on 201 2239.

Kind Regards

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