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"Nearly three years on I am haunted by this experience."

About: Victoria Hospital / Accident & Emergency Victoria Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

In June 2014 it was confirmed by scan that I was experiencing a missed miscarriage following a frozen embryo transfer (IVF). I agreed to "expectant management" and returned home. A couple of days later in the early hours I was admitted to A&E at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, Fife by emergency ambulance. I was experiencing extreme pain which I was unable to manage with co-codamol and had dangerously low blood pressure. The care I received from the staff in A&E was excellent. They were compassionate and promptly made me comfortable after prescribing morphine intravenously. Once my blood pressure and pain was under control I was transferred to Ward 32, Gynaecology.

In ward 32 I was allocated a private room and my partner was allowed to remain with me. This was greatly appreciated. Later on that morning it was decided that I would be given a drug to medically induce the miscarriage. When this decision was made, together with the doctor in Ward 32, it was explained to me that I would remain in hospital until the miscarriage was complete and any pain would be easily managed within the hospital setting. I still had the canula in my wrist from A&E and the doctor confirmed that everything was in place to ensure that morphine could be given intravenously again if required. I felt comforted by the knowledge that this sad event would take place under the guidance of the medical staff in Ward 32 and that my pain would be managed effectively.

Unfortunately what happened next couldn't be further from my expectations. I took the drug to begin the process and co-codamol for pain relief. Very quickly the extreme pain I had experienced the night before at home returned. Although I had severe cramping I had only mild bleeding. From the initial onset of pain my miscarriage was complete in around an hour. During that entire time I experienced the worst pain I can ever imagine due to the failure of the nursing staff to treat the scenario that was presented in front of them.

Different nurses entered and then left the room. None of them spoke to us. No-one reassured us. No-one stayed with us. I requested time and time again to be given morphine intravenously as I had a line in my arm and knew that this had worked earlier. No-one listened. Instead the nurses blindly insisted on giving me alternative drugs to no effect. The pain continued to increase and I was hyper ventilating. No-one asked me for a pain score or to describe the pain. No-one monitored my pulse, temperature or blood pressure.

My partner, by my side throughout, was left alone to try and comfort me and help me regulate my breathing. I repeatedly cried out for a doctor as the situation was not improving and I was now very distressed, scared and in terrible pain. But, no-one answered those cries.

When a doctor did finally arrive, the situation was resolved in a matter of minutes. When they entered the room, their face told me they were shocked at the situation presented in front of them. They immediately identified the probable cause of what was wrong and worked to rectify the situation by manually removing the trapped products of conception from my cervix. Instantly the pain disappeared.

Myself and my partner were then left alone in the room for more than an hour. No-one came to check if we were ok.

We left the hospital at around 5 hours after I took the medication to begin the process. I felt violated. I have never felt so frightened. I now know what it feels like to be traumatised. Nearly three years on I am haunted by this experience. Although I made detailed notes I never felt I could put my experience in writing till now.

I will never step back into that Ward and this continues to present challenges because I am still undergoing fertility treatment knowing that if I need to be admitted I would need to travel to another hospital. I hope the staff in Ward 32 have changed since June 2014. I hope they are more caring now. But I wont take the chance - I'll travel 50miles to Ninewells.

Responses

Response from Louise Ewing, Clinical Service Manager, Older Adult Services, Fife Wide

picture of Louise Ewing

Dear incognito

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about what has clearly been a very sad and traumatic experience for you. I was sorry to read about your loss and think it is very brave of you to post about something so close to your heart.

Your account was harrowing to read and not the experience we want for any patient or their loved one. I am so sorry you have been left feeling the way you describe. Prior to responding I shared your post with staff and they too were deeply saddened and disappointed to hear about your experience. Dr S Monaghan, Clinical Lead has offered to meet with you to talk this through if you would find that helpful.

Whilst this happened some time ago; there is recognition that it continues to trouble you greatly. If you would like the opportunity to talk or to meet with staff please contact me directly on 01592 648154 and I will make sure this is arranged.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Regards

Louise

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