A Queensland woman who was forced to hold her miscarrried baby in a biohazard bag in a hospital waiting room before being left wrapped in sheets and sitting in her own blood says she has lost both her baby and her dignity.
Nikkole Southwell, from Fernvale in the state’s Somerset Region, lost her baby at about 12 weeks in April of this year. She claims staff at Ipswich Hospital didn’t provide her with adequate follow-up care after the painful ordeal.
Ms Southwell said she experienced a ‘missed miscarriage’ – when the baby has died but the mother hasn’t experienced any symptoms like bleeding or pain.
She was initially discharged after being told there was little to be done about her active bleeding, but returned the next evening after she woke to excruciating pain.
She said paramedics put a small amount of foetus and pregnancy matter inside a biohazard bag, which she was then forced to hold in a waiting room.
‘I lost my baby and my dignity was taken,’ she told The Queensland Times.
‘I felt like my baby meant nothing while it sat in the top of my handbag in a biohazard bag for all to see.’
Nikkole Southwell, from Fernvale in the state’s Somerset Region, lost her baby at about 12 weeks in April of this year. She has been left traumatised by treatment of her miscarriage
Ms Southwell was taken to a room where she claims hospital staff used the torch from her boyfriend’s iPhone to examine her cervix.
She alleges there was another patient’s blood on the curtains they pulled around her bed, which were falling open and allowing passerbys to see inside.
The young woman said she was discharged after staff removed a small blood clot and were satisfied her cervix had closed.
However, Ms Southwell’s condition dramatically worsened on May 4 when she started haemorrhaging and required emergency surgery.
Doctors performed dilatation and curettage surgery the following day in an effort to remove potentially life-threatening pregnancy tissues.
Just over a week later on May 14, Ms Southwell again began to bleed heavily and expelled a blood clot about the size of a 50c coin.
Despite hospital staff saying it was most likely an infection, she asked for a scan – which revealed she may have uterine arteriovenous malformation (AVM).
The rare condition can cause potentially life-threatening vaginal bleeding.
Ms Southwell was told if she did have AVM, she could not risk further surgery to remove the leftover tissue and blood vessels in case of a rupture.
Ms Southwell claims staff at Ipswich Hospital (pictured) didn’t provide her with adequate follow-up care, saying she lost her baby and her dignity during the experience
She eventually went home, as her blood levels were normal, but returned to hospital after she started having muscle contractions during a panic attack.
Fearing the movements would rupture the AVM, she claims she waited for several hours before finally returning home.
After starting to ‘gush’ blood she returned a second time, where she claims she heard staff talking about her, saying she simply had anxiety.
At 8am, a specialist said the AVM could be hemorrhaging. She was sent to Mater Hospital in a taxi after staff decided it would be quicker than an ambulance.
There, doctors said there was no AVM and that her symptoms were possibly the result of an incomplete dilatation and curettage surgery.
She went into theatre, and is now at home recovering from the ordeal.
On May 29, Ms Southwell posted several photos from Facebook page ‘Angel Babies’.
‘The day that you died, a part of my soul died with you,’ one post read.
Another poem read: ‘Avoid the triggers they said, they often forget, this one place, my own body, the place that I cannot avoid was your only home, now feels like an empty vessel, stitched with the memories in everything I do.’
Ms Southwell’s treatment at Ipswich Hospital is now under review, with Health Minister Shannon Fentiman to receive the recommendations.
Ms Southwell alleges hospital staff didn’t provide her with adequate follow-up care, leaving her wrapped in sheets and sitting in her own blood
She now fears commencing IVF in the hopes of having another baby, due to fears her uterus is ‘ruined’ after two dilatation and curettage surgeries.
Ms Fentiman said it was a ‘heartbreaking situation’.
‘I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Ms Southwell and her family,’ she said.
‘There is a review under way and I look forward to receiving all recommendations from the review.
‘Women’s health is one of my top priorities and I want to ensure that women right across Queensland have access to appropriate and compassionate care.’
West Moreton Health Chief Executive Hannah Bloch said a consumer liaison officer had reached out to Ms Southwell to begin a review of her treatment.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Queensland Health Department and the West Moreton Health Consumer Liaison service.