As an internal health review has been opened into a woman’s distressing miscarriage experience, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk shares her own miscarriage story, saying, “I do know exactly what it’s like. It is horrific and stays with you for the rest of your life”.
The internal review was sparked after allegations that a woman at an Ipswich hospital received traumatising treatment following a painful miscarriage.
The 24-year-old woman, Nikkole Southwell, who’d been 12 weeks pregnant, told the Courier Mail that on the way to the hospital after her miscarriage, paramedics placed her foetus in a biohazard bag. Southwell claims she then had to sit in the hospital waiting room holding the bag with bloodied sheets around her waist.
“I lost my baby and my dignity was taken,” said Southwell.
“I felt like my baby meant nothing while it sat on the top of my handbag in a biohazard bag for all to see.”
After several hours in the waiting room, Southwell said hospital staff examined her cervix using her partner’s phone torch rather than medical equipment. She also said the room where she was taken had revealing curtains stained with someone else’s blood.
In an interview with 9News Queensland, Southwell said, “I know deep down I will never recover from this. I mean, everything that I went through– I can’t close my eyes without witnessing some part of that experience”.
“Not acceptable” is what Palaszczuk called the woman’s treatment, speaking Thursday on Nine’s Today show.
“I’m going to be personally involved with the minister to ensure that these things definitely do not happen again in our public hospitals,” said Palaszczuk.
“I don’t think it’s right and the health minister is convening… an urgent round table to discuss these very important issues.”
Palaszczuk reportedly shared with interviewers that she herself had suffered a miscarriage at her home and went to work the same day “completely in shock”.
“This was many, many years ago of course, before I was a politician, but I know the trauma that [women go] through”.
“It is heartbreaking; it is very hurtful; and you’re in shock, and you don’t know what to do,” she said.
“I think there are conversations that need to happen, but also the health care system needs to respond, because so many times we focus on the woman having the baby and not the person who’s lost the baby.”
Research has shown that around 300 Australians experience early pregnancy loss everyday, and one in four pregnancies end in loss. Support after this loss is lacking as well with a report from The Pink Elephants Support Network showing this to be the case for 40 per cent of Australians.
The internal health review into the disturbing treatment of the woman in Ipswich is expected to take at least 30 days before the recommendations are publicly released.
Health Minister Shannon Fentiman said she’s “asked Queensland Health to urgently work together with frontline staff to put together practice guidelines and models of care for women who miscarry.”
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