Belfast Telegraph

Mother who lost her baby 'sent home with leaflet'

By Lisa Smyth

A pregnant woman has told how she was sent home with a leaflet to read after being told her baby was dead.

The heartbroken mother-of-one has sent a desperate plea to the Health Minister to improve services for women who miscarry.

Stacy Shaw found out at a scan on Tuesday that her baby had died - and was then refused treatment at her local hospital.

It comes just hours after Edwin Poots launched his vision for the future of healthcare for pregnant women - including providing care close to home.

The 27-year-old Holywood woman was told her baby's heart had stopped three weeks earlier and she required surgery.

"They told me they couldn't find a heartbeat and handed me a leaflet," she said.

"The consultant told me I could have the procedure at the Ulster Hospital and told me to go home and fast, then phone back in the morning for an appointment.

"I rang back the next day and was told they didn't have any space at the Ulster.

"They said I could go to the Lagan Valley, but I didn't want to. I wanted to go a hospital I know. They told me to ring back the following morning."

When Ms Shaw spoke to a member of staff at the hospital yesterday she was told the procedure will not be carried out there.

"They said they can't cope with the number of people who need treatment," she said.

"She said I could never have had my procedure there. Everyone I have spoken to has given me different information.

"I haven't had any support. I was given a leaflet and that's it.

"I haven't even been told if there's a helpline I can call. They said I could take tablets to get rid of the baby but I told them I didn't want to do that."

Ms Shaw said she asked for a second scan to be carried out to confirm the death of the baby she was carrying.

"I'm still experiencing all the symptoms of being pregnant. I'm just so confused.

"I begged for a second scan, it would take them five minutes, but they said there was no way they could have made a mistake with me.

"I looked into having one done privately, but it would cost £700."

The Royal Victoria Hospital has now taken over the care of Ms Shaw.

A leading Northern Ireland doctor said women who miscarry require support to help them through their ordeal.

Dr Brian Patterson said: "We are charged with looking after the emotional wellbeing of our patients as well as the physical.

"Women who have miscarried have had a bereavement and it isn't enough to hand them a leaflet. You need to talk to them and answer their questions."

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health said Mr Poots does not comment on individual cases.

A spokeswoman from the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust said: "We wish to offer condolences to Ms Shaw at this sad time.

"There is protected theatre time for this type of surgical procedure in Lagan Valley Hospital - which is our day procedure unit within the trust. Slots were available for Ms Shaw on two occasions and the trust has therefore provided every opportunity for treatment."

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