My hospital ordeal

Guest blogger Molly Sibanda gives an account of a horrific event that she experienced at a government hospital.

A doctor performs an ultrasound on a patient hospital - photo cred Robert Harding

A doctor performs an ultrasound on a patient in maternity hospital – photo cred Robert Harding

On a cold winter’s night before the end of April, I found myself heading to a local hospital with pains in my womb. Being 11 weeks pregnant, it looked and felt bad. I was bleeding by the time I got to the hospital at 11:30pm.

I was attended to by a GP who prescribed an antibiotic injection and a drip. After the nurses administered the injection and hooked me up to a drip, I went and joined the line to see a gynaecologist. Unfortunately the one who had been on duty had left while I was being attended to by the nurses.  The next one who was supposed to start at midnight only showed up at 3am. At some point I was handed a thin blanket to ward of the cold. I was thankful for this as I had left the house in a hurry and the cold hard benches in the waiting room didn’t help.When the gynaecologist finally showed up, he did a clinical examination whereby he stuck his fingers up my birth canal. The news was not good.

The bad news

He told me that I was having a miscarriage and my womb was already open. I asked if I could get a scan done as my bleeding had no clots at all but he argued that it would be a waste of time and money because it was too late. I realised how hard it would be since they had closed their scanning department at 4:30 which meant having to drive around by myself to find an affordable imaging centre that offered the service.

The search for hospital money

I am neither full-time employed nor am I on medical aid. Outside a government hospital, any clinic that I could find would demand cash upfront. Frantically I called around and sent desperate text messages, asking friends to help with the $160 needed for the womb evacuation procedure that is necessary after miscarriage.

Fast forward to a week later after the evac, I was home dealing with the emotions that come with a miscarriage when I felt sick and went back to the hospital to get checked again. I was worried that maybe the evac had not been thorough. I couldn’t figure out why else I would be sick.

Unexpected news

On the scan request form they stated that it could have been an incomplete evac. Imagine my surprise and consternation  when I was told that I was 12 weeks pregnant. What of the miscarriage? The evac procedure? My mind was in a whirl. Beyond the fact that I was still pregnant, now there was also fluid under the baby, possibly caused by the procedure and which they could do nothing about. I had evidence of two scans from two different establishments showing only one foetus taken before the evac. Everyone around me could not explain how it could have happened that I was still pregnant.

Waiting game

I was then told they would monitor the baby until I got to 24 weeks. During this time, I would go in for a scan every 2 weeks. I only managed to go in once. Then it hit me that I did not feel safe in their hands anymore.

I have since readjusted to expecting a baby once again and have had to, sadly, face it all alone. On inquiring with the hospital whether I would get my money back for this evac and wrong diagnosis. The procedure to claim a refund, explained to me by the hospital staff, sounded convoluted and, no doubt designed to discourage patients from getting reimbursement. For now, I just want to avoid stress for the sake of my baby then map out my move when I have safely given birth.