Taupo mother Huia Anderson is haunted by the day she gave birth on a toilet to a baby she thought she had lost weeks earlier, only to see him die in front of her.
She said an apology from the doctor and hospital that sent her home after failing to spot she was still pregnant was not enough.
Anderson's ordeal began on February 25 when, eight weeks pregnant, she arrived at Taupo Hospital bleeding, in pain, worried she was having a miscarriage. Anderson said she told a doctor her symptoms and without any tests he diagnosed her with a spontaneous abortion.
"He advised me I would bleed and it would eventually stop like when you give birth." After in-hospital care, including being placed on a drip, she was sent home and told to take painkillers.
Despite being upset, she tried to return to her normal routine, including a physically demanding job which required her to lift heavy weights.
Then on April 28 she said she felt a sharp pain similar to those she had in February. Before she and her partner left to see a doctor, she went to the toilet as she felt a sharp sudden pain in her pelvis. Anderson said she looked into the toilet and couldn't believe what she saw.
"It was a little baby.
"He hit his head on the toilet bowl and fell into the toilet water."
She was in shock and called for her mum and partner.
Her partner tried to resuscitate the baby as they waited for an ambulance to arrive; however, there was nothing they could do - at only 18 weeks he was too young to survive.
"My partner cut the cord and wrapped baby in a warm towel and went and sat with him for 5-10 minutes in the lounge."
Anderson said she was still coming to terms with what happened.
"[I'm] so wrecked inside, very confused at it all, and most of all very angry at the doctor that misdiagnosed me in February. How can you make that mistake? His small mistake has made a huge negative impact on me and my partner, a mistake that cost a life.
"I think it will take quite some time before my partner and I can move forward from this, letting go of a baby you can't hug and hold is not that easy."
Anderson placed a formal complaint with the Lakes District Health Board, which operates Taupo Hospital and was offered an apology.
"I spoke to the new hospital director and [they] organised some counselling and a scan for my stomach, [but] all he could offer was an apology."
She said they also read an apology from the doctor who had misdiagnosed her, which simply said: "I am so sorry for your loss, I wouldn't want that to happen to me."
She did not feel the apology was enough and intended taking the case to the Health and Disability Commissioner.
Anderson said she had asked for details about procedures around such diagnoses. She maintained the doctor who treated her did not follow procedures and she had had no answers from the district health board.
"They said nationwide they have changed their protocol but it doesn't change the fact he didn't follow the first protocol put in place."
Lakes District Health Board spokeswoman Sue Wilkie confirmed the case was being reviewed by the board.
"Lakes DHB received a complaint about this case on May 30, 2014, through the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service.
"A letter from Lakes DHB acknowledging receipt of the complaint was sent to the patient on June 5 also expressing sympathy." Wilkie said the board was sorry "this patient has had a distressing experience.
"The case is currently being reviewed internally."
- Waikato Times
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