Skip to comments.Hospital Staff Flushed Miscarried Baby Down Toilet - Need Advice Please
Posted on 06/09/2011 1:40:00 PM PDT by momfirst
Hello fellow Freepers. I am looking to you for some direction and advice on where to turn on behalf of my closest friend in the world. A very horrific incident happened this week to her daughter, who was expecting her first child. Unfortunately, she misscarried the baby at 13 weeks gestation. If the devastation of that was not enough, it happened in the hospital while she was on the toilet. The nurse instructed them to leave it there and she would go get a pathology box. Very shortly thereafter, another hospital staff member came into the room, donned gloves, and went into the shared bathroom (shared between two patient rooms), shut the door, and, to everyone's horror, flushed the toilet, baby and all. My friend and her family are just beside themselves in grief over not only the lost child, but the way it was handled compounds it a thousand-fold.
The hospital apologized and said they would start an investigation, but that was it. My friend really wants to know what the hospital is doing to make sure this never ever happens to another family, but will not get any replies from the hospital, just get's the standard run-around. They don't want to sue, they just want action. We think the least the hospital could do is to follow-up and reply to their requests - and I persionally think they should offer counseling services to their daughter. The poor thing can't go to the bathroom without bursting into tears.
Does anyone have any advice or direction to resources that might help advocate for this family? We can't find any organization to help since there was no physical harm done to any person. (after all, society doesn't consider a 13 week fetus a person)
And please, any prayers would be greatly appreciated for this young woman and her family.
That said, the threat of lawsuit may motivate the hopital.
Have them call a lawyer. If they have a family friend who practices, have them call them. They can sue but not for money, just to change procedures. I wouldn’t buy anyone’s promise at that hospital at this point. This is probably not the first time they have handled this situation like that but should be the last.
I am so sorry for your friends.
This is a horrific event, my deepest sympathies to this family.
I hope that this is publicized because it shows the beast that we are dealing with in this country - A CALLOUSNESS TOWARDS THE GIFT OF LIFE, A GIFT FROM GOD.
Lost a baby at 16 weeks. I finally pushed the baby out (yes, it was like real labor, although obviously not as big-but contractions) and the nurse swept it away and kept calling it “tissue.”
Until the baby is 20 weeks, that’s exactly how miscarried fetuses are treated, as if they were skin or a blood clot. Just “human tissue.”
Your comment is tasteless and shows callous disregard for other people. You should be ashamed. This is not a joking matter.
So they can sue for policy change?? I don’t think any law type folks they talked to even mentioned that was a possiblity. That’s what they want. Thank you! Just need to find the right lawyer...
Unfortunately, when it comes to a hospital's administration staff, a lawsuit is what gets their attention. Tell them to retain a shark attorney and file or forget the whole thing.
It’s a sad catch 22, but the hospital is afraid to speak with them exactly because they fear a lawsuit, but if the family retains a lawyer they will pay attention. However, at that point they will still stomewall teh lawyer because, they will fear a lawsuit.
I think they should speak with their clergy for advice, perhaps also a counselor of some sort to deal with the grief and loss. They should then talk with a lawyer to help them sort out what is possible.
From the description you gave, it did sound like an accident? I’m sure the first nurse wanted to preserve the fetus for medical as well as ethical reasons. It sounded like the second nurse screwed up. They can improve their procedures, seems someone needed to seal off that room until it was dealt with properly.
AFTER speaking with the lawyer, if they don’t want to sue, I’m sure state and local agencies would be interested in investigating. Also, even if the hospital won’t admit it, once they get a detailed letter explaining what happened, they probably will improve their procedures.
I’m so, so sorry for your loss.
And yes, that 20 week mark makes all the difference to some in the medical community. The “care” is missing from healthcare.
I was horrified, as others were, by this. The advice I’d give would be similar to others: legal counsel, and continuing, in writing, to request where the investigation is. Also, consider contacting local or national right to life groups, which may or may not be something to mention in correspondence with the hospital. You and they would know that situation better than I, but keep on them. This is no minor thing; this is how they have treated human life, and as I’m writing this there is surely other vulnerable human life in their care, for whatever that’s worth.
Here’s my advice. Post the name of the hospital and the name of the victim and the date of the incident. That’s about all you can do.
I’m not a lawyer, but suspect just the threat of a $ suit would force a ‘settlement’ resulting in establishing a new procedure. At that point, if the family’s objective is purely for the policy change, they might have to find an attorney thru a pro-life advocacy group in their state who would work on their case pro bono. Most lawyers are in business to make money.
She needs grief counseling first, I’m sure there are internet forums but I think you might also ask your local Pregnancy Care Center as they already do post abortion grief counseling so surely they will have a few names of counselors specializing in that area.
Also another avenue for damages to pursue is whether the woman has also been deprived of medical information by the wanton discarding of the fetus. Did it have genetic anomalies, were toxins present, etc that might have bearing on a future pregnancy.
The hospital staffer should be fired for both stupidity and insensitivity.
I would give the hospital some time, is sounds like it was not done intentionally as they initially offered to help the mother. More then likely it a hard subject for the Hospital staff to have to deal with also. Real hard to offer help as I can't see anything the hospital can do to make up for what happened, other then documented policy that prevents this from happening again. like securing room until the baby is properly secure.
Definitely consult with an attorney.
Thank you for your wonderful advice.
Yes, they are claiming it was an accident, and it was, in a way, but with the very limited exposure to medical process and procedures I’ve had (just starting nursing school in the fall myself), I can’t beleive another staff person (not a nurse) went into a patient room they were not familiar with and didn’t ask before entering the bathroom and disposing of anything, be it the baby or whatever. That seems very negligent in my mind. I would assume they have a protocol for shared restrooms. If not, they most certainly should now.
I’m so sorry for this loss. The loss of a child of any age is terribly painful. Regardless of what they decide to do related to the hospital and staff, please encourage them to make contact with Compassionate Friends http://www.compassionatefriends.org/about_us/our_mission.aspx
These are families who have lost children. People who have lost a child can help in grieving and living with loss. Prayers for all involved.
I have read all of the posts on this thread and can only tell you what I would do.
I would pray for the soul of the little child, forgive the hospital staff, pray for my own healing, praise God, and try to move on.
How sad for the parents...
It’s unclear to me whether or not the person who flushed the toilet did so knowing what was in the toilet. Someone may have walked in, saw a dirty toilet, flushed and now feels horrible about it. It seems that the nurse who was working with the patient was happy to do what the patient wanted.
In any case, it certainly seems that hospitals should have some procedure for when the contents of the toilet bowl need to be saved for some reason - something as simple as a large plastic “do not flush” sign that hangs on the wall and can laid across the toilet when needed.
My brother and his wife had a funeral for a 13 week old miscarried baby. It gave them closure. I hate to recommend this route, but they only seem to pay attention when lawyers are involved.
Seems the nurse was preparing for some tissue disposal when she donned the gloves.
How about requesting a meeting with the Doctor or Nursing supervisor (or Administrator?) and say you want to just discuss the matter,,,threaten to call the local tv news station and newspaper if they won’t at least talk to you.
Call a lawyer then the state hospital licensing board , HHS, and JCAHO also known as Joint Commission and file a formal complaint. the can lose their hospital licensing and JCAHO accreditation
Agreed, a simple procedure to prevent this from happening in the future should be put in place. (actually, it should have already been in place and followed)
I doubt they would have let her take the baby and bury it. They normally do NOT let you take a miscarried baby out of a hospital. They consider it just as Obama does — hazardous waste.
Prayers up for your friend. Saddest thing I have ever experienced in my life, twice. May she mourn and be comforted.
There is a very valid medical reason why it is so important that the fetus is examined by pathology. I understand your friend’s and her daughters heartache. But to get anywhere with the hospital you have to first approach this as a breach of medical ethics and procedures. Those things can and should be brought to the attention of the authorities regulating the conduct of hospitals and their staff. Trust me this is not a minor concern and your friend should demand that an investigation by an agency other than the hospital be conducted.
As to the very real pain and suffering caused by this action I would tell your friend to speak to her minister about holding a service for the child. The mom may also want to speak to a lawyer about how to make sure the hospital does all it can to remedy and prevent such situations.
OMgosh. How very sad. It is horrible to M/C, but then to have the incident afterwards would make it even more devastating. ITA with posts 10 and l4.. maybe contacting an attorney from RTL or another pro-life group who would work pro-bono.
If your friend is up to it, go to the local paper and TV news people. The only thing that will get the admin’s attention is bad press or a law suit.
Prayers for all involved.
I sent your link to La Shawn Labarber and Jill Stanek
Pro Life Crusaders, Maybe they will contact you.
I sent your link to La Shawn Labarber and Jill Stanek
Pro Life Crusaders, Maybe they will contact you.
If you don’t sue for LOTS OF MONEY, nothing changes.
The gestation of our third child resulted in a miscarriage at 20 weeks. It devastated my wife and I, since it came also by total surprise and we were able to make it to the hospital after my wife’s water burst, but the miscarriage happened shortly after we got there and the child had passed due to the obvious consequences of the loss of amniotic fluid at that stage.
We were both devastated. My wife the most.
When I asked the nurse practitioner when and how I would get our daughter’s remains... she bluntly stated that “most” people didn’t care about the remains before 5-months gestation... I was apalled, because I knew what she was saying is that they (the hospital) didn’t care about a “fetus”... and I also frankly, didn’t care how “most” other people, according to her, didn’t care.
I insisted that this was not going to be the case for us and that I wanted to see my lifeless child and hold her in my arms. Quite hesistantly the nurse complied and brought her to me to another room where she stood looking at me the whole time. I wanted a moment alone with my child to weep and pour out my soul before God to help me cope.
I requested the body and they finally offered up a cremation service. We received our daughter’s ashes, whom we named Abigail, and made our funeral service a private family affair. This helped bring us all closure.
I will advise you to tell your friend what a close friend told my wife, who was devasted, for encouragement...
“Blessed is the tree that beareth fruit unto heaven”
I don’t know where that saying comes from, but it is precisely true... you see the Kingdom of God belongs to the little children.
We knew at that point, that the first member of our nuclear family, had gained Salvation and Eternal Life and whether or not we would get the privilege to meet her, would depend on how we would live the rest of our lives in submitting to Jesus.
From experience, this is a tough event to deal with, but God will hold her through it... and she will have a child to raise when she gets to heaven, in a perfect environment and a better place and reality that what we are all currently faced with...
Shalom and God Bless your friend and you for caring...
Apologies, the saying was:
Blessed is the womb that beareth fruit unto heaven
A thousand-fold? Really? What were they planing, a funeral with a casket? It's a shame these people lost their baby before it had a chance to be born, but that's just the harsh odds of the reproductive process.
Dwelling on what happened to the lifeless body that nature took from them is pointless. What possible good could come from pursuing anything related to the incident?
Try to imagine folks who are joyous at the prospect of a child being born. Imagine how they have already begun to plan for their future with the child. Imagine them sharing their excitement and anticipation with others. Imagine others joining in their joy.
Try to imagine that all going horribly wrong. The new life taken by death. Try to imagine the sorrow and suffering.
Thankfully, most FReepers can do this automatically. I hope this little exercise helps anyone challenged in the empathy area.
“There is a very valid medical reason why it is so important that the fetus is examined by pathology.”
Excellent point. And did she want to bury it? I would get a lawyer.
The only way the hospital will get the message loud and clear is through a demand for compensation for pain and suffering.
Really, many health care professionals are now severely dumbed down in the ethics department. Medical schools banned western ethics and took up humanism.
“What possible good could come from pursuing anything related to the incident?”
Uhhh, preventing it from happening to another family in the future, for one.
As was pointed out, there is a valid medical reason to examine the fetus. Holding medical staff accountable for failing to perform the duties of their job, would be another good to come from follow-up.
Wait, do you work for the hospital?
Donning gloves before retrieving anything from a toilet bowl in a hospital would seem to be a safe procedure.
I give your comment two thumbs down.
I've been in the exact same position. It was a tough time. I Just don't recall caring in the slightest how the body was disposed of. What possible difference does it make?
I hope this little exercise helps anyone challenged in the empathy area.
Well, I guess when it comes to empathizing with some ghoulish obsession over the disposition of a tiny, undeveloped, little body that died naturally, I'm coming up a little short.
Exactly - which seems that it WASN’T an accident. An accident would be the nurse or the patient in the shared area wanting to use the toilet.
The nurse donning gloves before she goes in may have meant she knew the fetus was there. (Told/asked to help by the other nurse? “A woman just had a misscarriage in her toilet in Room 313. Can you help me retrieve the baby? I’m going to get the container.”) The nurse looks in the toilet and thinks “Harumph - that’s no baby, that’s just some human tissue.” FLUSH.
Sorry - it said staff member, not nurse. I guess it might have been someone that checks/cleans the bathrooms every so often - but that would seem like an odd coincidence. And no bucket of cleaning supplies mentioned.
I imagine this is fairly rare, and that they may not have a procedure for closing off and protecting areas for such events. Although would seem to me that any number of things can happen in a hospital (especially bathrooms) where you would want it protected immediatly. Bodily fluids (vomit, blood, feces, etc.) that may have diesease, etc.
Number 36-your comment is “pointless” as well as void of compassion and sarcastic. The family describes being in a state of shock and disbelief. I do not agree with your description of their loss as nature taking the fetus is helpful advice.
The hospital should have given this family the decision of how they wanted the fetal remains disposed of. In addition, they needed immediate support from a staff person who deals with death and loss.
Every hospital I have worked in has had an ethics committee composed of nurses, Drs, social wkrs, legal reps, and other disciplines who consult over these kinds of issues-usually their opinions have a lot of clout and influence in resolving issues such as this.
This family needs grief counseling for help and advice. Unresolved grief can have life long negative effects on a family unless they are helped to move on. Check out the stages of grief by Elizabeth Kubler Ross.
FYI - TO: wagglebee & Ping List Logic n’ Reason; Dr. Brian Kopp; trisham; DJ MacWoW; little jeremiah; Coleus; narses; Lesforlife
The ONLY thing that is going to motivate the hospital is a lawyer.
My prayers for the young mother. And for the soul of the baby.
Others on the thread already have good advice.
I believe the staff member that flushed the fetus was not a nurse. My friend kept refering to that person as “the tech” and the nurse that went to get the pathology box as “the nurse.” Although, I’m not at all sure what kind of tech position would be assisting.
I’ll foward the link to this discussion to her. There is such a wealth of advice! I thank (just about) everyone for their comments and suggestions!
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