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This is a question Doctors, Nurses, Dentists and Hospitals

Tingtwatter asks: Ever been on the receiving end of some quality health care? Tell us about it

(, Thu 11 Mar 2010, 11:49)
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The procedure for miscarriage is unfortunately exactly that, though it's awful that your friend was forgotten about and that's defiintely worth complaining about.
Miscarriage is unfortunately so common - missed miscarriage (where the baby stops growing but the body continues the pregnancy) less so - but considering that about 15% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, the NHS can't admit everyone to hospital who is miscarrying. What they should do is offer support and compassion and they have evidently failed in your friend's case.

With a missed miscarriage, there are three options: an ERPC (the operation), medical management (drugs to start the miscarriage process), or simply waiting for nature to take its course. None of them are easy. If you opt to wait for nature to kick in you are sent home with advice that it might be like a heavy period and you should get some strong painkillers. You are advised to contact the hospital if "you pass clots bigger than your fist". They like to play down the symptoms so as not to alarm women - for some women it is not physically too bad. For others, it's is extremely painful - I ended up being admitted to hospital for two days because I was having contractions and was haemorrhaging.

But yes, if you don't have the operation then you are left to do it at home unless medical intervention is needed. Some people do flush the gestational sac down the toilet. Others bury it. It seems horrific - it is horrific - but it's not a medical emergency and there's really nothing the NHS can do at that stage. It's very difficult and it's emotionally devastating. If you are lucky, the NHS will provide the compassion and support and kindness and advice that makes the world of difference. Unfortunately, many hospitals simply don't.

Please tell your friend that it's not something you ever forget but it is something that gets easier with time. Miscarriage is so horribly common and yet so incredibly taboo but talking to friends and family friends afterwards, many women will say that it happened to them. Also, just because it happens once does not mean it is likely to happen again (I'm walking waddling proof of that, though a subsequent pregnancy is filled with fear and worry, and relief at each day that progresses without bleeding).

Online support is there - the Mumsnet miscarriage/pregnancy loss forums are an amazing source of information, for example - and there are campaigns for a Code of Conduct to be introduced (http://www.mumsnet.com/info/miscarriage-code-of-practice).

Your friend should definitely complain about the way she was treated. The process is not necessarily at fault here but the lack of respect and kindness certainly is.
(, Tue 16 Mar 2010, 9:29, Reply)

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