Grieving mum says remains of baby she miscarried thrown out as '˜waste' by hospital

A grieving mother says the remains of the baby she miscarried were thrown out as 'clinical waste'.

Tuesday, 4th December 2018, 9:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th December 2018, 10:15 am
Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin. Picture: David Whittaker-Smith

Sandra Booth also says her husband Steve picked up the tiny foetus from the FLOOR of the hospital ward.

She says staff at Dr Gray’s Hospital, in Elgin, Moray, repeatedly lied about what had happened.

And she believes her family will never get the answers they deserve.

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Sandra, from Buckie, Moray, had filled out forms to take the remains of her baby home after she suffered a miscarriage when she was nine weeks pregnant.

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She was admitted for an assisted delivery after receiving the tragic news there was no longer a heartbeat in the womb – before being told a web of lies in the aftermath.

Sandra unexpectedly passed the baby, which could fit in the palm of her hand, during her stay on the hospital ward.

She saw her husband Steven lifting what they believe was the tiny foetus off the floor before calling for help.

But when the midwife arrived, Sandra was told it was not the baby she was holding and put the remains in a container, which was later disposed of after a staff mix-up.

Sandra said: “I have no proof that it was my baby but I know what I saw. I put my trust in the staff who told me that it wasn’t.”

NHS Grampian has already apologised unreservedly for the incident, which happened in March last year, and has since briefed staff about the correct procedures to follow.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman investigated and found a series of failings on the part of NHS Grampian and said the health board did not “show enough empathy or compassion”.

Letters from the health authority to the Buckpool mum have blamed a “possible error” between changing shifts for the container being treated as waste.

But Sandra believes questions remain about how the NHS responded to the tragedy to stop it from happening again.

She said: “I put my trust in the NHS to look after me and my child. They’ve told me they’re going to do extra training now – I don’t understand why it took what happened to me and my baby for them to realise something had to be done.

“They must have known what these tubs were used for. They must have known that something was in it. Why did they just take it away and not check? At the end of the day we will never find out now.

“I wish I had taken a picture but I was told it wasn’t my baby. We’ve got nothing now.”

After discovering that the remains were in fact her child, the mum was distraught before staff consoled her by telling her the tub would have been stored in a refrigerator unit.

However, hospital personnel were unable to locate the container and later pledged to investigate what happened – before the family learned through the Citizens Advice Bureau that their complaints had never been recorded.

Sandra added: “It’s just shocking the way we have been treated. I just can’t believe all the things we were told that turned out to be lies.

“We might have still been waiting for that investigation to be finished if I hadn’t gone to Citizens Advice.”

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman has already ruled the health board did not “show enough empathy or compassion” towards the family during the ordeal.

NHS Grampian was ordered to apologise after the independent investigation which also recommended staff were made aware of what constitutes a “significant incident” and appropriate miscarriage guidelines.

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said: “We clearly let this patient down in the most distressing way possible.

“We apologise unreservedly for our actions. This is not the level of care we aspire to give to our patients.

“We accepted all the recommendations of the ombudsman in this case and have fully complied with all of them.”