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Miscarriage/pregnancy loss

Totally floored by miscarriage 'care' at Barnet Hospital. Should I complain?

26 replies

monalisasmile · 04/11/2006 13:30

I went in on Monday and scan showed had lost baby and was given options. As i'd had D&C in June, was worried about the implications of another one so soon after.

Called hosp on Tues as I had sever cramping pains and lots of blood and clots. Went in on Thursday, waited 5 hours for bed and had blood pressure taken twice during that time. Saw first Dr just before 4pm as they were rushing me to prepare for theatre. Asked if I would be scanned before D&C to check how much still retained, and told not. I explained that as i'd lost so much blood, possible that all gone. Dr said that if i wanted scan, would have to wait till next day and would miss my theatre slot and would have to go on non-emergency list for D&C.

I couldnt understand why would not scan and possibly avoid having to do opearation altogether. I insisted on speaking to registrar, who agreed with my rationale and cancelled op on spot. She was also surprised that I had not been examined, had bloods taken or even given hosp wristband to identify me as in-patient.

Had scan yesterday, which revealed no matter was retained in womb so D&C not necessary. I felt that I was right to press for the scan before rushing strainght in with the op. I was then so upset about having to wait ages for a Dr to explain the 'next step' to me that I discharged myself after waiting 3 hours with no communication.

I found the first doctor's manner to be obtructive and confrontational...ive just given a brief version here.

Has anyone else has any experience of post-miscarriage care at Barnet - good or bad?

Am I over-reacting? Is this kin of thing normal? My previous experirence at Chelsea and Westminster was so opposite and maybe that's why I was so floored this time. I feel like my expreience has componded my grief over losing the child we were so desperately praying would survive and be in good health.

Sorry this is long, and thanks in advance.

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lissiew · 04/11/2006 13:39

How awful, you should def complain. i've just had 3rd mc and doc did say i needed to have 4 before theyd look into it. I did some research and complained to practice manager, I'm now waiting for things to settle down before tests. thinking of you

ejt1764 · 05/11/2006 19:28

First of all, so sorry for your loss ...

I've had 2 mc this year - during the first I was treated appallingly ... so I got on my high horse and complained.

I wrote direct to the Chief Executive of the trust (you'll find their address on their website), and was amazed at the thoroughness of the enquiry, and the action they took (member of staff responsible given a written warning, procedures at EPAU changed).

When I had the 2nd mc, I was treated at the same hospital - and boy, have they taken the complaint on board ....

The moral of the story is that nothing will change unless you play your face about the way you were treated.

take care, and heal,

VeniVidiVickiQV · 05/11/2006 19:34

I have to say, that BGH usually has a pretty good track record with maternity/antenatal issues.

This is why it is oversubscribed - because it is good and because no-one wants to go to Chase Farm (my local). Chase Farm truly is the pits, and the standard of care there is truly abysmal.

Several friends of mine have had babies at BGH, and had m/c's dealt with at BGH and couldnt speak highly enough of the care that they received there. Two of my friends had babies go straight to the NICU and said the care there was second to none.

However, it seems that you have been on the receiving end of a rather insensitive, and brusque Consultant. I would certainly complain about him, and point out that a registrar had in fact given you the care you should have received from his/her senior.

I am very sorry for your loss.

bosscat · 05/11/2006 19:40

I had a m/c a few years ago whilst living in London. I had to go to St George's hospital in Tooting where I had had ds1 a year before. It is a teaching hospital. They didn't ask me if I minded a student scanning me (internally) and they are supposed to. They didn't tell me the girl was a student. It took 40 mins and was so painful. I was in tears by the end. I had just lost a baby and they were using me as a teaching experiment. I felt very upset. I know students have to learn but they can learn to scan on normal healthy pregnancies. If they particularly want to learn on people who have suffered miscarriage they should at least ask you first and/or explain. As if you aren't going through enough. It still makes me furious.

monalisasmile · 05/11/2006 20:13

Thank you for responding to this thread and for all your support and advise. My thoughts are with everyone who has also suffered a m/c. For me, one of the most difficult things is knowing how to manage my emotions and move on, if thats the right expression.

I have now made up my mind to submit a formal complaint about the Dr in question.

I am glad that some people have had positive experiences, though the reports and tables and media attention I have since seen hasnt been that favourabale.

Unfortunately I have been an in-patient and out-patient at Barnet for two unrelated reasons during the last four months and each experience seems to endorse a general feeling of 'over-worked and underpaid' and the staff seem dissatisfied and dont display a good work ethic.

Its also a shame that the most meaningful and sincere 'care' I received was from a receptionist who stopped me in the corridor and found me somewhere to sit because she noticed i was crying.

Bosscat the situation you described is unforgivable and i would be absolutely livid at such an intrusion. The way our situations were managed seem to somehow detach emotion from what is by nature an emotive issue.

I know ive said i will pursue the complaint, but to be honest i feel so totally drained right now and i hope i have the emotional strength to see it through.

Anyone had any experiences at Barnet?

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thehairybabysmum · 06/11/2006 10:04

Sorry to hear you had such an awful experience, the last thing you needed when you must have already been feeling utterly pants.

No experience of this hosp as I am up North but I think you should complain if you feel up to it, as the other poster suggests it might at least improve the treatment of someone else i the future.

I dont think you are over-reacting at all...its a horrible situation to be in and your emotions (never mind the hormones) are all over the shop and surely the people treating you should be able to act sensitively. Personally i dont think this is much to expect.

Have you been given the number of a counsellor? My EPADS unit gave me a card and said to contact either themselves or the counsellor if i needed to.

Were you seen by an early pregnancy unit, if so was there a nice nurse or anyone who you could ring and talk things through??

I have to say that i am impressed with your ability to stand up for yourself in a hospital environment...i seem to turn into a passive mush so i think you should feel good that you did insist on the scan and save yourself unnecessary surgery.

monalisasmile · 06/11/2006 19:26

thank you so much for the words of support. I have started putting the details into a letter, but its unearthing the memories, which im not reaqdy to face right now.

the procedures say that the time limit is 6 months - i dont intend to take that long, but i may just leave it until next week.

I dont suppose it will be dealt with immediately, but i will post the outcome here when i receive it.

thanks again, and my thoughts and hopes stay with others who have suffered mcs aswell. xx

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beckybrastraps · 06/11/2006 19:31

You must put it in writing. Not complain as in "official complaint" necessarily, but if you have been treated with insensitivity then you must say so.

I had a miscarriage 3 years ago and I still feel upset when I think about how I was treated on the day ward. I really wish I'd said something back then.

lissiew · 08/11/2006 12:51

Ive just come back to see how you are getting on, A family friend is a nurse and can't get a job anywhere in the uk, it seems that the nhs dont care about quality or quantity. what do we have to go through to be dealt with any respect and sensitivity. It makes me so angry! Please complain, they can't continue to play god with our feelings.

monalisasmile · 08/11/2006 13:23

Hello, thank you all for your support and encouragement. Just to let you know that I have now finished the draft of the letter and will send it in at the beginning of next week. I feel physically worn out now, having been through everything again emotionally, but im glad ive done it as i think it was too important not to.

I dont think that I mentioned that I spoke to 'PALS', the hospital advisory service and informed them of my concerns verbally. The leaflet they gave me says that they aim to respond to any complaint within 20 days. I will post here what happens.

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thehairybabysmum · 08/11/2006 13:44

Glad you have been strong enough to do this. As a positive maybe reliving your experience by putting it down on paper might help you in dealing with your loss.

Am personally going for the ostrich approach by trying not to think about it, although i suspect this is made much easier as i wasn't treated in such an apalling away.

Take care

donnie · 08/11/2006 13:52

really sorry about what happened monalisa - I had both my dds at Barnet and was well looked after but I do know others who were not happy with the care they received.It seems very mixed - maybe I was just lucky.

You are right to put it in a letter - good luck.

monalisasmile · 09/11/2006 13:45

hi again,

I wanted to say that i feel so humble and fortunate. the support here has really helped me a lot. THBM i think youre so right that putting it down on paper being part of the healing process. I felt completely exhaused, tearful and emotionally drained - though I do feel better for it as it has enabled me to 'unload'.

I have now taken much of the emotion out of the original draft i did because i dont want them to conclude that the points i have made are hormonally loaded and magnified due to the mc. i need them to accept that i was / am rational in my claims.

I also dont want them to think that I am looking for something / someone to blame. I am very worried about this conculsion being drawn.

Anyway, I wont get even more down about it.

No-one apart from my DP knew about the pregnancy or mc. I didnt want to say - its my second in 4-5 months and I feel a bit embarrassed and a bit of a failure at times - now THAT'S irrational, I know. It can be quite lonely at times, but ive largely come to terms with it, but not without all your support here.

thanx again.

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lissiew · 10/11/2006 12:23

My god, its like reading about my own experiences. had to visit hosp in week coz passed out. had 3rd mc in 12 months about a week ago. when nurse asked how many weeks i had been i said about 7, and she replied "so it was just a heavy period then". dh got up and walked out. are you going to get tests done. after ds birth (nasty ec-s) i was ill with group b strep and doc thinks that could be why i mc at 6-8 weeks. most importantly YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. pregnancy is hard. please allow yourself to grieve. and ask your gp for tests. thinking of you!

thehairybabysmum · 13/11/2006 09:31

Glad that writing it down has helped a bit. Please try not to think that you are a failure are not!!!

Having a miscarriage is not something that you have any control over from a bodily point of view so it doesnt mean that you have failed....unfortunately for whatever unknown reason these babies just couldnt survive, but that doesnt mean that others won't.

I hadnt told many people i was pregnant either and im now relieved as i dont have to explain what happened to lots of folk. It really helps to post on here as you say.

Keep posting when you are feeling down and need some hugs

lissiew · 19/11/2006 12:42

how are you doing? been thinking of you x

merrylissiemas · 20/12/2006 22:51


monalisasmile · 01/01/2007 22:05

again, sorry i hadnt noticed that this thread was still active. I hope everyone has had a good xmas and new year - or at least as good as can be expected! - as in my case.

i previously posted that i had finally got round to writing the letter with a view to send it. i dont actually know WHY, but i didnt send it. it ran to about 5 and 1/2 pages of A4 sides and even when i read it back to myself i couldnt see how the hospital wouldnt think 'yeah, yeah, emotional, hormonal and irrational, uh-huh we understand, we've noted your comments' and then file the letter under 'no further action' or the equivalent.

I am so the opposite of how the letter made me seem and i just couldnt identify with how it made me sound.

i know that i have 6 months from the incident date to file the complaint and have been seroiusly thinking about presenting the complaint in person. i think its important for them to see the impact of this on me as a person rather than as 'words on paper' iyswim.

i think this makes me seem quite egotistical, but it is important that i dont miss this opportunity to draw this to the hospital's attention. i think it would be good for me, for others who may be unfortunate enough to be in a similar situation and also for the hospital to receive feedback about the quality of the service they are delivering.

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tribpot · 01/01/2007 22:14

I quite agree - don't think it is egotistical of you at all, more attempting to make the unit understand that their patients are human beings with actual feelings. Not to mention what is the clinical justification for putting you through a potentially unnecessary operation, when the financial argument quite clearly says "take a minute to assess the appropriateness".

monalisasmile · 02/01/2007 02:56

i agree with you. as i discharged myself, i received the discharge form in the post about 2 weeks later. essentailly it said that i was not happy with the treatment i'd received - it said nothing more. attached to it was a post-it note saying ' a copy of this form has also been sent to your GP'.

i thought it was a bit crass. firstly, given that i was their acknowledgment that i was 'unhappy' about the treatment, i thought they may have used the opportunity to either give info about who i could contact if i wanted to discuss further or to at least enclose a leaflet on bereavement counselling.

i dont feel that they recognise my experience a loss, yet for me that is what is uppermost in my mind. again i just feel as though i've been 'processed' by the hospital and i dont want to add to my own(still ever-present) pain over losing the baby.

sometimes i do feel strong, but then out of nowhere i feel weak and emotional and not up to the challenge of facing this head-on. i suppose that's part of the reason why im stalling with this.

sorry if my posts are too long, but thanks for reading this.

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ejt1764 · 07/01/2007 20:43

really glad you're healing ... fwiw, I'd do both - send the letter and see them in person. If your letter is an official complaint, they are not allowed to just ignore it.

Take care of you. Good luck


Lio · 07/01/2007 20:50

Hi monalisasmile, wish I'd seen this back in November. I'm so sorry for your loss and the whole horrible experience. FWIW, I wish I had complained about something that happened when I had a miscarriage and was looked after (mostly) at BGH. MAybe it's changed now (this was in 2002) but the room where I - and another woman who had just lost her baby - were trying to sleep was next to the room with the mums with their new babies. Horribly insensitive.

I don't think you are overreacting at all and if you have the heart, I think you should get a friend (or a mumsnetter ) to help you edit your letter OR if you are up to it, make an appointment to de-brief in person. My experience stayed with me for well over a year and a de-briefing might have helped that.

Edam · 07/01/2007 20:56

I'm sorry about your miscarriage and the rotten doc - junior or consultant? Whatever grade, your feedback will make a difference.

Do send the letter, if you feel you can. I complained about my maternity care at St Thomas's and was really pleased at the response. Sounded as if they were doing their best to make sure no-one else was treated the same way (and I know my way around the health service so I was convinced by their response). I felt so lacking in confidence about the complaint I presented it as 'feedback' specifically saying it wasn't acutally a complaint. But they treated it as one all the same, which in retrospect was right (for them, too, I could have gone to a solicitor...).

MonkeesMum · 31/01/2007 21:07

Monalisasmile - please write and send your letter.

I've had various experiences of miscarriage, ectopic and c-section at Barnet and other hospitals. I've seen some amazing people at Barnet and some complete a-holes, but they won't know which is which until we take the time to tell them.

I've also complained to Barnsley hospital, i was visiting relatives over NYE and thought i had had a MC but was still bleeding and in discomfort and testing + and they sent me home telling me it was "probably your period", at Barnet a week later they found it was ectopic and close to rupturing.

I had some fantastic treatment there this time round although A&E was a joke and there was a particularly unpleasant Consltnt Gynae, Mr B, is this the guy you're complaining about? Exceptionally brusque and patronising.

monalisasmile · 01/02/2007 20:29

Thank you for your support. I am sorry to hear of the bad experience at Barnet. I dont mean it in a bad way, but I do find it encouraging that someone else has had the same first-hand experience from the same doctor. In a big way it makes my emotions more rational (at least to me!)

I want to send the letter, I really do, but it opens wounds that have not yet healed and its hard for me.

I know I owe it to myself, my family and others. I know its sounds like such a cliche, but if it means even ONE other person is spared having to endure what I had to go through then it will be a huge achievement for us all who have been through similar and also for all who have supported me on this site.

I will send it. Somewhere in the back of my mind im thinking that by not sending it already there's a possiblity that someone has also suffered more than they needed to already. Also im thinking that im unlikely to have been the first to feel like this after being consulted by this doctor, and maybe if someone before me had reported it, I may not have had to go through it at all.

I will send it. I'll post again when i've actually got myself together enough and its actually been sent.

Thanks again for all the support here.

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