"My lost baby was treated as clinical waste"

About: Princess Royal University Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

I lost a baby at about 7 weeks old during a Norovirus outbreak at the PRUH.

Whilst in A+E I suspect I passed the fetus - I showed it to one of the A+E nurses who put it in the clinical waste bin without waiting to show the remains to the gynaecologist who had been called to see me.

I was admitted to the ward on Sunday evening and was not allowed to see my husband until discharge from hospital over 48 hours later. There was little acknowledgement apart from one of the night nurses and the nurse in charge of surgical 7 that I had been through a very traumatic experience. No acknowledgement that I was grieving as well as physically quite unwell.

It was made worse because the person opposite me was admitted with an ectopic pregnancy at about the same stage; her partner was allowed to stay and I could hear the doctors offering her the possibility of cremation for the remains of her child. I was just distraught for some weeks later that mine had been thrown out as clinical waste.

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Response from Molly Baack, Associate Director of Communications, South London Healthcare NHS Trust

We are very sorry for your experience at our Emergency Department and on our ward. I have shared this with our nurse managers of both the ED and the surgical wards, who have expressed concern about your story.

We expect our nurses to show compassion and empathy for people coming in to the hospital, and especially in cases such as yours. We are not clear why your husband was not allowed to visit as we have full visiting times and certainly understand that women who have experienced the trauma of miscarriage need the support of loved ones.

Please contact the organisation via our PALs service on Tel: 01689 863252 Email: slh-tr.br-pals@nhs.net who will be able to investigate this properly. This will also enable us to give you a full, direct response, and give you the opportunity to discuss your experience and concerns with a member of staff.

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Response from Ruth Bender Atik, National Director, The Miscarriage Association

I'm so sorry to read about the loss of your baby and the additional distress that happened during your hospital stay. Of course the remains of your baby should be treated with respect and sensitivity, just as you should. It must have taken some courage to tell your story on Patient Opinion and I'm glad that the hospital is taking your feedback seriously.

I know that nothing can be done to change what happened to your baby, but wanted you to know that there may be a different way of marking his or her brief life. The Miscarriage Association has an online forget-me-not meadow where parents can post a message in memory of their baby/ies - you'll find a quick link to it on our home page or you can use http://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/support/marking-your-loss/forget-me-not-meadow/.

Secondly, you may like to know about a service called "Saying Goodbye", which is being held at St Paul's Cathedral, London on Saturday 24 November. You can find more details at www.sayinggoodbye.org.

I hope this helps a little at this difficult time.

Best wishes

Ruth Bender Atik

The Miscarriage Association

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