A traumatised mum who suffered a miscarriage was forced to alone wait inside a maternity ward where she could see mums having contractions and newborn babies.
Laura Percival had gone into hospital for a 12-week scan when doctors told her the devastating news that the child’s heart had stopped beating.
But the 27-year-old single mum was forced to wait hours for surgery after a pessary – a device inserted into the vagina to support the uterus – failed.
She said the experience was “the hardest thing she has had to go through” after a porter wheeled her through a new-born baby ward.
Laura, a marketing manager, said: “They did the scan and said there was no heartbeat. I will always remember the crushing feeling in my chest, the confusion of all the ‘what ifs’ and ‘whys’, the tears and most of all the guilt.
“That day will stay in my mind forever.”
After her miscarriage Laura waited alone for three hours before being told that she needed to come back the next day for a pessary.
But when she returned to Croydon University Hospital, south London, she was forced to wait for a further six hours before the pessary, which failed.
The distraught mum-of-one then passed a blood clot the size of an orange before bungling doctors finally allowed her to have surgery because there was “still a lot of baby in there”.
As she was being wheeled in for surgery, a porter took her through a maternity ward and she watched mums-to-be have contractions and new parents wheel their babies around in plastic cots.
She said: “When you have a miscarriage they give you an information sheet but it wasn’t very helpful and I didn’t know what was going on.
“The pain of the pessary was worse than anything I’ve ever felt before, it was worse than when I was in labour with Luka.
“The next day I passed a blood clot the size of an orange and they told me that I would not be having another pessary because of how big the blood clot was.
“The porter took me out before my surgery and he took me through the maternity ward, after the scan they left me in the maternity ward where I could see a woman having contractions.
“To my left there was a young couple wheeling a newborn baby around in a plastic cot and talking to a nurse.
“I just thought this is not okay, I was really upset and I cried to my sister in front of my son. No woman should have to go through that.
“I can’t believe it has happened, the baby had lost its heartbeat a few weeks earlier, I had already been planning a baby shower and I had told family and friends and even announced it on Facebook.
“After the scan the consultant came and said he was sorry for my loss, but they didn’t tell me what was going on, they told me that I would be having three pessaries but because I passed the blood clot they told me that it was not okay.
“A nurse told me that there was no heartbeat and then a young doctor was very uncompassionate and he told me what he thought was going on but the nurse had to correct him because he got it wrong.”
Since her treatment on September 7 Laura, from Croydon, has since lodged a complaint with the hospital, which have since apologised.
Laura, who also gave birth to her first child Luka, three, at the hospital, said: “It just felt like a whirlwind that didn’t need to be as stressful as it was, and when I was left outside watching all of these mums wheel their babies around, my heart just sank and it felt truly awful.
“I got back after that scan and cried for the first time in front of my three-year-old. No mum should have to do that.
“It was just poor management, when speaking to nurses they said that there wasn’t enough staff and they were stretched beyond their means.
“I could see that, but it is no excuse for the way I was treated.”
The mum has also launched a petition calling on the NHS to be more compassionate, rather than avoiding miscarriages as a taboo subject.
She said: “My mum is a paediatric nurse and when I told her I was bleeding, she was honest and told me to expect the worst.
“I went to St Helier and they told me there was nothing they could do and they said to go to Croydon University Hospital. When they said that I just thought horror.
“The last time I was there when having my first son I had to have an emergency C-section, once I had come round I was being rushed off the bed.
“I was in so much pain, I can’t even begin to describe how much pain I was in, and it just seemed as if the staff then wanted you in and out as quick as possible.”
A spokesperson for Croydon University Hospital said: “We were very sorry to hear about Laura’s experience and have apologised sincerely to her for the distress she has experienced.
“We take our duty to provide care and support to all of our patients very seriously and her complaint is being thoroughly investigated.”