I'm so angry for all of us - in this community in particular - that in a country like the UK, with £1000,000s worth of technology at our disposal and a huge knowledge based economy full of specialists and highly trained individuals, that poor attitudes continue and bad practices can so negatively effect the quality of care. I'm speaking particularly of obstetrical, gynecological and prenatal care here.
When I read reports like that in last weekend's Sunday Times - indicating that many NHS staff don't trust their own facilities - and which, more importantly, told the story of a woman who was informed by hospital staff of the high likelihood that her baby had died in utero, but then that she'd have to come back on the following Monday to confirm it because the ultrasound department only operates weekdays, (I'm not making this up)....Well, what can I say? It makes my heart break, my blood boil and yet it's all too familiar.
When I first realized something was up while carrying S, I called the Early Pregnancy Unit (which is meant to exist precisely for such moments) at my then local hospital, to be told that, at under 18 weeks, 'there would be little we could do, so try and enjoy your evening (!!!) and if the problem persists call us back tomorrow'. Again, not making this up; a prenatal care nurse actually said that to me. It was my first pregnancy, so I didn't quite realize at the time how appalling that truly was (though I've kicked myself so many times since for the fact that I didn't. Oh, the guilt). As true as it might be (though in some cases not), that a pregnancy at just under 18 weeks is far from save-able, do they not understand the notion of person-centred care? Do they not appreciate that we are not merely carriers of life they sometimes hardly seem bothered to acknowledge, but also whole people with concerns and fears and hopes of our own, and that we deserve care and empathy for all of that too?
The hospital in question in the article, in a neighbourhood of south London very near to where I once lived, offered a formal apology after the case was included and published in the wider research report.
And the NHS wonders why the UK has one of the highest stillbirth rates in all of Europe? Pretty scary. Of course the sad truth is that many losses (including, probably, my own), are not preventable, even with the interventions of modern medicine. Some causes (particularly the 'unexplained' variety) of infertility are not easily treatable. But that doesn't mean that when we place ourselves, our hopes and dreams and fears in the hands of those we trust to care for us, that they cannot display a minimum of compassion, even when their hands are tied so far as intervening goes. Sadness and disappointment in such cases are inevitable, but they can be minimized if treated with kindness. Successful medical treatments almost invariably contain an element of psychological and pastoral care as well as biomedical. I'm not just speaking from the experience of a patient; in my profession I know this also to be true.
It makes me so angry on behalf of all those lovely, loving, resilient and brave women and men I know here in the UK, struggling to conceive and then often struggling through scary, difficult pregnancies to bring home healthy babies they desperately want to care for. They deserve so much better. This country deserves so much better.
In tangentially related news, I received my appointment letter from the GYN clinic with a date of 14 March for my necessary colposcopy. Yeah, they were quite literal about the 'emergency' six week wait, almost to the day. I'll speak to my GP tomorrow about how that might affect our attempts for trying this coming cycle.
The letter itself arrived a mere three days after my initial exam. So I guess they're pretty efficient with correspondence, if not treatment.
|Shaking my angry fist. Source.|