"Experienced miscarriage and treated by the EPC"

About: Southmead Hospital

I was refered to the hospital after experiencing some bleeding 8 weeks into my first (much wanted and much tried for) pregnancy. I had a scan on a Tuesday morning and the nurse informed me that my dates were wrong and it was a perfectly healthy 5 week pregnancy. Despite insisting that it wasn't possible and I should have been at least 8 weeks, she insisted I was wrong, that everything looked perfectly fine and she would book me in for another scan in 2 weeks time. I asked about the possibility of miscarriage and she said it was a small possbility. We were asked to take a seat and someone would talk to us. After 10 minutes, another nurse gave us a number of leaflets on the way past and told us to call the number on the back if we had anymore problems. There was no discussion about possible miscarriage, what to look out for or what to expect if it was the case- she seemed too busy to talk to us. Wednesday morning I had developed severe cramping- the worst I have ever experienced and heavy bleeding. I contacted the number on the leaflet and spoke to a Dr. He advised me it was a threatened miscarriage and he would book me in for a scan in a weeks time. He informed me he would call back with a time for the scan. He told me about signs of extreme blood loss to look out for and to come to A&E if that happened. Bleeding and severe cramping continued overnight and as I was in a lot of pain, and hadn't received the phonecall back, I contacted the clinic again. I was informed by a nurse that I was miscarrying, there was nothing they could do and she would cancel all scans. I asked what would happen next and was told that my notes would be updated and not to worry about contacting my practice midwives. Since then I have been contacted on numerous occasions by midwives from my local practice and nurses from the EPC, querying why I haven't attened scans etc. Each time it is claimed that my medical notes haven't been updated. I feel that I was given limited information or help. I felt completely abandonned by those who were supposed to be providing basic medical care. Despite asking questions about miscarriage and the possibiliies- these were waved away like I was paranoid and wrong in the information I had given them regarding dates. I had to research miscarriage and what to expect just to get basic questions answered, as no-one would take the time to talk to me about it at the clinic or over the phone. Despite having reassurances that medical notes would be updated, I have received continued calls about setting up scan appointments (and in one case missing a scan appointment), all of which have been extremely upsetting. I feel as though I was simply another nnumber through the conveyor belt and while I appreciate that this is something the staff deal with everyday, but this is something extremely upsetting and scary for me. There seemed to be a complete lack of compassion, and it was all about getting moved on to the next person quickly

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Anonymous – please accept my condolences on your loss at this sad and upsetting time. I was very sorry and surprised to read of your experience and that you have not had the support you required. I am sure that staff will be saddened to learn how their actions have been perceived and the effect their poor communication has had on you. If you would like to contact me via complaints@nbt.nhs.uk and provide more of your personal details I would be very happy to put you in touch with senior staff in the maternity services unit. They I know will be very happy to talk through your concerns so that you can feel better supported, and the unit can learn from your experience to ensure other women do not suffer your experience. Please be assured that the situation that you describe is one I do not recognise from my interaction with the maternity services team, who usually go out of their way to appropriately support women, particularly those who have any sort of complication with their pregnancy. Once again please feel free to contact me if you feel this will help. Kind Regards – Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Team

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