Diagnosis of Early-Onset Pre-eclampsia

I was let down by my local hospital’s antenatal and fetal assessment unit by the way they failed to recognise or take seriously enough my symptoms, or take the urgent action required when I presented with pre-eclampsia at 20 weeks gestation, quickly worsening with mine and my baby’s life becoming in danger over a period of around 2 weeks.

It was my first pregnancy, achieved through IVF after trying to conceive for 3 years. My baby already had growth restriction at this point.

Prior to this stage I’d had 3 severe bleeds, threatened miscarriages during my first trimester, and despite this was still labelled ‘low’ risk.

Ultimately my baby boy was stillborn at 25+1 weeks – an event that is sadly associated with pre-eclampsia.

Whilst I was in hospital, having been in for a month; I spent 2 weeks in this hospital and then I was transferred for specialist fetal-renal obstetric care – which was excellent – at a Women’s hospital who are more used to looking after mothers-to be in similar situations to how I was.

I feel that the staff at the first hospital (my local) did not have the awareness that pre-eclampsia can develop even at this early stage. It seemed to me that they refused to take it seriously, and so correct diagnosis and proper treatment/care was delayed until I finally saw an out-of-hours GP at my local hospital, who immediately understood the severity of my condition; my blood pressure had peaked at 170-180/ 100 by then, and proceeded to get me admitted that night.


Poor antenatal midwife care

I was seen by community midwives ego failed to alert me to the fact that my baby would be large despite my constant asking (I was massive when pregnant and gained a lot of weight). I was told that I was being silly and that my baby measured small to average. Nonetheless when I was 41 weeks pregnant another midwife saw me instead of my usual “experienced” community midwife and they recommended that I have a growth scan. On having the growth scan a week after due date I was told the baby was estimated to be 10lb by the sonographer. There was no follow up consultation as I was booked for induction 4 days later( 41+4). On arriving for my induction the baby’s size was barely mentioned the induction process began and I went home to wait for signs of labour. A few hours later they began and I was readmitted. After contracting for over 30 hours and only dilating 3cm I was told by consultants that evening that they would be breaking my waters the next morning as they wanted me to try and get some rest first. During the consultation they referred to the baby’s size for the first time and asked whether I was aware of any risks involved with having a large baby especially as I suffer from anaemia. My husband and I looked at each other confused. The doctor then told us that we would need a consultant present at the birth in case of severe blood loss and also due to baby’s size I would likely tear and had a very high chance of the baby having shoulder distosia (not sure of spelling) meaning he could deprived of oxygen during labour and could suffer a disability or even worse not make it safely into the world. This was undoubtedly the scariest moment of my life I felt so let down by my so called experienced midwife as I felt completely unprepared for this. The consultant assured me that in some cases shoulder distosia doesn’t occur but nonetheless they recommended an emergency cesarean section to avoid the risks involved. However staff stressed that I should have been alerted to baby’s size and the risks involved from much earlier in the pregnancy & that I was failed by my midwife and the staff who performed the induction. Luckily the next morning my son arrived safely following the operation. However I contracted an infection and was on antibiotics for over a month post delivery. I was sent home just 48 hours after the operation only to be readmitted a few days later. I refused another readmission a week after that. What should have been an amazing precious time with my first born was traumatic and very upsetting for all involved.


Deliberate neglect of my healthcare for two years.

Following a colonoscopy in July 2009 I started to put on weight at an alarming rate. I consulted my GP who said that it was nothing to do with her and that she was not prepared to help.

Later when I developed breasts and shrinkage in the genital area I asked her again for help. She said that she did not see a medical problem and refused to even discuss my predicament.

When the results of a separate investigation initiated by the colonoscopy surgeon suggested that I had a hormone imbalance which was responsible for the weight increase and the growth of breasts I approached my GP again. I asked her to explain the consultants report but instead of doing so she lost her temper and accused me of bringing a laundry list to a 10 minute appointment. She failed to act upon the consultant endocrinologists report and told the practice manager that she wanted me taken off her list and to transfer me to the other doctor in the practice.

I visited the other doctor and asked him to discuss the consultants report and to advise me but he just said that it was a load of rubbish and wouldn’t take note of it.

Neither doctor is prepared to address my very obvious problems. I am 77 years old, overweight by 26kg, carry two large female style breasts, my penis has shrunk to near vanishing point and I have chronic pains in my legs and feet. I am profoundly deaf.

Neither doctor will see me because they don’t recognise any issues that need attention. I tried to make a complaint but I was told that there was nothing to investigate and I was told that any further attempts to complain would be rejected as the same complaint cannot be investigated a second time.

I feel that I have been abandoned by the NHS.


Removal of granuloma at Northern General

1. Immediate referral by GP to local hospital to have ‘growth’ removed from base of right hand (plastic surgery required).

2. A lot of bleeding (during the waiting for an appointment by the hospital).

3. After one session of bleeding, I waqs sent to A&E by my GP.

4. Long waiting time in A&E (4 hours) then still waited for appointment to see the specialist (total of 3 weeks from beginning to end).

5. After 3 weeks, I saw the plastic surgeon. Everything after that was excellent. I was treated with courtesy and respect by Mr Dunkin and the pre-op nurse. Well done NHS.


My mums referral to the local dermatology clinic

My mum was referred to the local dermatology clinic recently to have a suspected cancerous growth examined. She is in her early 70s and along with my dad, they have become NHS ‘frequent flyers’ over the last few years. Overall their experiences of the service have been very mixed.

In this case, my mum was very unimpressed with what appeared to be the casual attitude of staff and the overall lackadaisical environment of the department. Reception staff communicated poorly and the process for scheduling and prioritising patients appeared to be random.

Other staff appeared to spend significant amounts of time chatting and giggling, or wandering to and fro in a determinedly unhurried manner. This in a department and speciality that is known to be under pressure and oversubscribed.

Whilst this amounts to the perceptions of people unfamiliar with NHS ways of working, it’s nevertheless important that NHS staff and management understand the impression they are giving to service users, and the conclusions they are likely to draw about the efficiency or otherwise of the the service and the entire NHS from their experience.

Perhaps more seriously, my mum spent less than ten minutes with someone discussing her condition and was put under some pressure to make a decision there and then about her treatment options. This does not sound like best practice given she had just had a cancer diagnosis effectively confirmed, and needs a biopsy before any treatment regime can be confirmed.

On the plus side, she was given some written information to take away and some indication of what the next steps will be, but overall the experience fell short of expectations.


Tick Box diagnosis is a step backwards, I expected better

I was concerned that I had a lump in my throat and had a camera x-ray carried out. Fortunately there was no sign of a growth and my condition was diagnosed as silent reflux.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was asked to fill in a questionnaire with no explanations as to what it was for. I had to grade my condition by answering several questions and ticking boxes 1-5 for each question.

I am not a doctor but tick box diagnosis is a step backwards, I expected better.


My miscarriage experience

The NHS has managed to be so inconsiderate towards the “missed miscarriage” I have had.

Despite going to see my GP in March as I was getting sharp pains and had fainted, at that point I was around six weeks pregnant. They arranged for me to have a scan that evening at the John Radcliffe. When I arrived at the Hospital I was taken to see a junior doctor who examined me and then informed me that I was too late to have a scan, as the ultrasound room was locked and they did not have the keys. I was asked to come back for 7:00 the next morning (which required me to find a baby sitter for my two year old son).

The next morning I turned up at the hospital as agreed and three and a half hours later I was taken in to have my scan. During my scan the ultrasonographer told me that my baby was showing two weeks behind the due date by my last period. I was then asked to come back again for a second scan 10 days later and they told me everything was fine.

Four weeks later I started to get the sharp pains again and made an appointment with the midwife to see if everything was ok. I was in there no more than 10 minutes while I was told to lay on the sofa and take it easy for a few days (which is not easy with a toddler). Despite insisting that to her that the pains may be something more serious she brushed it off and wrote that “everything is fine” in my blue notes.

So you would think because they said all was fine that it would be, I put it down to growing pains and got on with things. When I attended the 12 week scan I was not prepared for the news I was about to receive. I was called into the scanning room eagerly waiting to hear the heart beat again and there was nothing. The ultrasonographer stopped what she was doing and said “I’m sorry, I can’t see anything and there is no heart beat.”

My heart sank and I all my emotions began flooding out at once. Once I had gathered myself together as best I could, I was taken down the the urgent gyne suite and asked to sit in the same room as the expectant mothers, that is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and it was only after I complained twice that I was then moved to a different room.

After around three hours a doctor finally came around to see me. She said she was sorry that I had lost my baby but I could see in her face that she was trying not to smile (maybe she had heard something funny before coming into see me but that is not how I expected a doctor to act).

They sent me home after about 3 hours of waiting after finding out that we had lost our baby. We then had to make a choice weather we wanted to have a ERPC (evacuation of retained products of conception) or see if things happen naturally. We went for the ERPC. When we rang up they were going to make me wait till 6 days later, so we had to fight just to get it to happen on the next day. Its upsetting enough knowing you have lost your baby, let alone carrying around a dead baby for a week longer.

We turned up on the morning and went though the consent forms etc, and the doctor come and spoke to us. They said we should have another scan in 10 days, otherwise it might end up being like having an abortion. They went out the room and came back in after just reading my notes, unlike before, and said oh you have already had a scan 5 weeks ago and there hasn’t been much growth so the baby has died, so you should go ahead with the ERPC. So as you can imagine we are confused what’s going on and getting very angry and upset over what they said. After that we got sent to sit with a load more pregnant women to get some bloods done for the ERPC. All we could think was how unfair is this.

Finally, as i thought, that would be the end of it… it wasn’t it was only the start. After being in so much pain i kept going to the doctors telling them. They kept giving me antibiotics. I must have had about 5 lots in the end. One of the doctors done another pregnancy test about 3 weeks after the ERPC and it came back negative. So she arranged for scan but that wouldn’t be for a while.

In the end i took another pregnancy test, to find out that it was still coming up positive 5 weeks after the ERPC. I went back to the doctors for the 5th time in 5 weeks and they finally listened and sent me up to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

When i got to the John Radcliffe Hospital got made to wait in the queue, with heavy pregnant women which is so upsetting, then put in the same waiting room as before, listening to people who have just had scans and are over the moon, while i’m sat there wishing that was me.

After hours of waiting i finally saw a doctor, to say he was going to get someone scan me which he did. Eventually then after the scan I got told they didn’t get all the pregnancy tissue out and it might have been a molar pregnancy, so once again I was booked for another ERPC the following monday.

Again I had that done and was in a lot of pain. After 2 days i was back up to the John Radcliffe again. They did a pregnancy test and it came back negative and it was a UTI (unirary tract infection) which why i was in pain, so back on 2 lots of antibiotics, this would be 7 lots in 6 weeks. While i was thinking yes, at last i can finally get back to how things was and finish my grieving.

The following week i took another pregnancy test, because I suddenly started to feel pregnant again, and it came back positive. So i rang the hospital to find out whether my results was back after the last ERPC to see if it was a molar pregnancy. They had and it came back negative (gosh i was relieved). So i told them I’m getting positive tests again and they said to come in the next day so i did.

I was back in yet again, in the same waiting room and got called to the Dr. They tried to discharge me as soon as i sat down but i stood my ground. They just would’t listen to me saying the pregnancy test turned positive (more than 1). They then decided to say that could be a molar pregnancy. After having to complain a lot to them, they decided to do my bloods to check my HGC levels even though i was asking to be scanned. They wouldn’t do it, but my concern is they messed up once, what’s stopping them from doing it again? (I even said that). But all they did was made me an appointment for the following friday to see yet another doctor… they said he will decide whether i get another scan done or not (so yet another fight with yet another doctor).

So 7 weeks down the line from the 12 week scan, I’m still fighting with the NHS and still in pain which is not nice for your 2 year old son to see.

pink and fluffy

Looking forward to playing badminton again

Having had this lipoma behind the right knee for about 12 years with it increasing in size, it was decided to have it examined with a view to have it removed. X-rays and an MRI scan revealed that it was non-malignant and within a two month period I was given a date for an operation. I entered Nottingham City Hospital on Gillies Ward at 7.30 am on the day of my appointment and by 10.30am I was on the side- ward without the lipoma. I was discharged on the following Saturday having been well looked after by surgeons, doctors and all nursing staff. I am now looking forward to playing badminton again although this growth has not inhibited my activities in the past.