Tuesday, 12 November 2013

UHW apologises (again)

The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has apologised to a young mother, after incorrectly diagnosing a silent miscarriage (otherwise known as a missed miscarriage), at the University Hospital of Wales.

A silent miscarriage is where the foetus' heart has stopped beating, however the female body has not recognised the loss, and therefore, does not abort the pregnancy in the typical 'miscarriage' scenario. Many women only find out about the loss at their routine 12 week scan (or 10.5 weeks in the C&VUHB area).

After the diagnosis, there would usually be a confirmation scan to ensure that this was indeed the correct diagnosis, then the woman would need to decide on a course of action which, would include a possible procedure to extract the remaining pregnancy from the uterus or tablets to encourage the body to miscarry iteself. In some cases, the body can naturally miscarry a week or so after the news of the loss. The whole process is deeply traumatic and can have lasting psychological effects on, not only the mother, but the father and any family involved.

Emily Wheatley, from Monmouth, was wrongly diagnosed with a silent miscarriage, by a sonographer at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW). It was discovered that the hospital is using guidelines that are two years out of date, and could have been making the same mistakes as far back as 2006.

Investigations only took place after the ombudsman, Mr Peter Tyndall, was involved in the above case, as the health board would not acknowledge any wrong doing.

Quote from BBC News:
Peter Tyndall, Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, said it was an "unacceptable mistake" which should have been avoided and he has called a review of midwife sonographers' competency.

The hospital has since accepted that they were at fault, and have taken measures to ensure this doesn't happen again, however I do wonder why it happened in the first place.

A doctor, working within children's and women's services, has estimated that a staggering 600+ women could have been affected by the out-of-date guidelines each year, since 2006. That could mean upwards of 4000 healthy babies, could have been wrongly aborted.

An apology really doesn't cover that.

BBC News:

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board's executive director of nursing, Ruth Walker, offered an "unreserved" apology to Ms Wheatley and said the said the board was "genuinely sorry that it has taken an ombudsman's report for her to receive the answers she deserved".
She said that correct procedures were now followed.

 Luckily for Emily Wheatley, she chose to attend a different hospital, in a neighbouring health board, and was found to be carrying a healthy foetus, and carried to term, with a beautiful baby daughter resulting.

Women in the Cardiff and Vale area should be thankful to her for taking her plight further, and ensuring future women are not treated in this manner again.

Magpie. (please note, I am not medically trained and apologise if any terms are inaccurate)

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