A woman was forced to keep her baby’s remains in the fridge after she suffered a late miscarriage, as NHS staff reportedly told her they had nowhere safe to store them at the hospital.
Laura Brody attended the A&E department at University Hospital Lewisham in south-east London with her partner Lawrence, only to be advised that there was nowhere to safely keep her baby’s remains.
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust has said that a full investigation into what happened is under way.
Ms Brody had originally attended the hospital’s early pregnancy unit after she started bleeding almost four months into her pregnancy, but was originally told that there was still a heartbeat.
Days later, however, doctors confirmed that her baby had died after further scans.
She was sent home to wait for a bed to become available at the hospital, but after two days she suffered a miscarriage in her bathroom.
At first the couple dialled 999, but were told that their situation was not an emergency.
'I was there holding my baby in a Tupperware box'
After making their own way to A&E, Ms Brody said that they "were put in the general waiting room and told to sit at the back."
She told the BBC: “I was there holding my baby in a Tupperware box, crying, with 20 or 30 other people in that waiting room.”
They kept hold of their baby in the warm waiting room for about five hours.
Ms Brody was eventually taken to a bay where she was told she would need surgery to remove the placenta, but they say still no member of staff would assist them with, or even look at, their baby.
Her partner said: “There was no-one at the hospital willing to take charge of our baby.
“No-one seemed to know what was going on.
“Our baby had been in a hot room for nearly five hours now.
“So we decided together that I would take him home.”
At about midnight, Lawrence went home in a taxi, where he cleared space in their fridge to place their baby’s remains.
'No safety net'
Ms Brody said of the experience: “It feels like there’s no safety net when things go wrong with pregnancy.
“And even with all the staff and experts working really hard, the processes are so flawed, that it just felt like we’d been tipped into hell.”
A spokesperson for Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: “We are deeply sorry and offer our sincerest condolences to Ms Brody and her partner for the tragic loss of their baby and these traumatic experiences.
“A full investigation is under way to understand where failings in care may have occurred so that any necessary changes and improvements can be made.”
Minister for women’s health Maria Caulfield said in response to Ms Brody’s case: “Every loss of a child is a tragedy, and my deepest sympathies are with Ms Brody and her family.
“This Government is committed to making the NHS the safest place in the world for maternity care and we have invested £95 million into the recruitment of 1,200 midwives and 100 consultant obstetricians, whilst our new Maternity Disparities Taskforce is exploring how to further reduce the number of still births and maternal deaths.
“Later this year, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists will publish new guidelines which will support NHS trusts to deliver more personalised miscarriage care, helping women through every step of their journey, including treatment options and management of future pregnancies.”
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