Friday, January 16, 2009


Woman's toilet miscarriage nightmares, Broken Hill Hospital

January 16, 2009 01:56pm, Daily Telegraph

A NSW woman is "having nightmares" after losing her baby in a hospital toilet when she was 23 weeks pregnant with twins, her husband says.

She is the latest in a string of women to reveal their harrowing stories of poor treatment while miscarrying at NSW public hospitals.

Michelle Corradini went to Broken Hill Base Hospital in the state's far west on December 17 when she discovered she was bleeding, said Dr Claire Blizard, chief executive of the Greater Western Area Health Service.

Once at the hospital's emergency department, she was categorised as a "priority three" patient in a range of between one and five, with one being unconscious.

She was seen in 20 minutes by a doctor, within the appropriate timeframe for her category, Dr Blizard said.

"Once it was confirmed that she was in fact miscarrying, the obstetrician was contacted and the obstetrician said, 'Get her round to the maternity unit'," she said.

"While the staff were waiting to transfer her to the maternity unit she went to the toilet and she delivered the first baby.

"She was transferred round to the maternity unit where she delivered the second baby on a bed, which was tragically stillborn as well," she added.

Ms Corradini's husband Andrew Corradini said his wife was left "absolutely devastated" by the incident.

"She's having nightmares," he told ABC Radio on Friday. "Basically, it's shattered me."

News of the tragedy comes just a week after at least three women complained about the care they received while miscarrying at Maitland Hospital in the Hunter Valley.

Lisa Watt, 39, said she was haunted "every day" after having to flush her baby down the emergency department toilet at Maitland on May 19 last year, because there was no bed available.

New protocols say women suspected of miscarrying should be transferred immediately to a maternity ward.

They were developed after a government inquiry into the case of Jana Horska, who miscarried in a toilet at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital in September 2007.

Mr Corradini said he felt let down by the health service.

"You go up to hospital thinking you're going to get the best of care and this happens," he said.

"The health minister said after the last time it happened, that they were going to bring protocols in and that it should never happen."

Dr Blizard said there was "very little" a hospital could do to stop a woman from miscarrying.

She said the health service had launched an investigation into the incident, according to normal procedures, with the results expected "within the next week or so".

The investigation, delayed due to key people being away over Christmas, would focus on how the patient was managed clinically as well as emotionally, she said.

She added that the hospital had "been maintaining contact with the family, offering them support".