Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Update: Woman Forced to travel for D&C interviewed in Sunday Times

In March this year, AIMS Ireland was sent a story by a woman who was forced to travel for a D&C - we shared her story here: http://nocountryforpregnantwomen.blogspot.ie/2013/03/womans-story-uchg-denies-d-for.html

This woman decided to come forward and was interviewed in this past Sunday's Irish Times. The link is not available online, however, the woman has forwarded the text.

See below:

The Sunday Times, 14th July,

Justine Mc Carthy

A SPANISH woman who was refused surgical help after a miscarriage says she and her husband are leaving Ireland because they have no faith in its maternity services.

Lupe Royan, a mother of one, was almost 14 weeks pregnant when a scan taken at University Hospital Galway (UHG) on February 22 showed the absence of a foetal heartbeat. She claims that when she asked for the foetal remains to be removed from her womb, her request was refused.

“I told [the doctor] I was devastated by this loss and that I was aware there was a risk of infection,” Royan said. “Because the embryo only measured 7mm, she said she would have to book another scan for me in a week’s time and I would have to come back then. It was very cruel. I was thinking about what happened to Savita.”

Savita Halappanavar from India died at UHG last October following a miscarriage in the 17th week of pregnancy.

An inquiry report commissioned by the HSE was critical of her treatment in the days leading up to her death from sepsis.

Royan was referred to UHG by a Galway GP when she had a bleed at 11 weeks.

Following an inconclusive vaginal examination, an appointment was made for an ultrasound scan two weeks later, but she was not prepared to wait that long.

She paid €100 for a scan on February 16 at the Terryland Medical Centre in Galway, a private clinic that specialises in early-pregnancy ultrasound. The scan showed no foetal heartbeat and the clinic referred Royan back to UHG.

“I went to the hospital the following Monday and gave them the scan images and the report from the clinic,” Royan said.

“The doctor said they would have to do a second scan to make sure there was no mistake with the dates of my pregnancy. I understood that.”

The second scan on February 22 again failed to detect a foetal heartbeat. It showed an embryo of a size normally equivalent to about four weeks of pregnancy.

“There was no life there. This was clear,” Royan said. “The doctor said they would have to wait a week to do another scan to make sure it was a miscarriage. I asked her, ‘How can the embryo grow if it is dead?’”

Royan says two other doctors told her and Gonzalo Matanala, her husband, that medical protocol required that the hospital do its own second scan to confirm the miscarriage. Royan phoned a doctor in Valencia, Spain, whom she had attended during her first pregnancy. The doctor, she says, advised her to return to Spain where she would undergo a scan and a procedure known as “evacuation of retained products of conception”.

Royan, Matanala and their three-year-old son set off for Valencia on February 24 but she suffered a natural miscarriage en route.

“I don’t feel safe here [Ireland]. I would never try to get pregnant again in this country,” said Royan, who is moving with her family to Luxembourg.

“Ireland is very proud to be Catholic but it lacks compassion.”

The HSE does not comment on individual cases but it said: “Galway University Hospital adheres to the national clinical guideline on the management of miscarriage which was formulated by the National Clinical Advisory Group in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

“This guideline recommends waiting a week or more between doing a first and second scan before intervention.”

In its section on the treatment of miscarriage, the guideline states: “Follow-up scans may be arranged at two-weekly intervals, until a diagnosis of complete miscarriage is made.

“However, if the woman requests a surgical or medical approach to their management at any stage, it should be arranged.”

Fionnuala McAuliffe, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, said: “Certain criteria have to be met to diagnose a miscarriage. We would err on the side of caution. I understand how this woman must have felt, but it is important to be sure. A foetal heartbeat only comes at about 6½ weeks and sometimes a woman can be less pregnant than she thinks she is.”

Thank  you to Guatelupe for coming forward and sharing her story.

AIMS Ireland support services: support@aimsireland.com 

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