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.
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!
Full disclaimer, I work for a law firm. However, they will have to do at least 1 thing, which is sue the hospital. They may also have to call the press, but I’d call a lawyer first.
And I’m sorry, I understand people do want to profit from a bad experience but if you don’t hit folks in the pocketbook it doesn’t hurt enough. If they were to win money they could always donate it to charity.
I’m very sorry for your friend’s tragic loss.
I agree. The poster thought maybe when the nurse went in and flushed the toilet that she didn’t know what was in the toilet. The nurse came into the room, put on gloves and then proceeded to flush the toilet. You do not just walk into a room and decide to flush a toilet- she must have known was was in the toilet- thus the gloves.
One of my patients aborted into the speci-pan and we got an intern from Labor and delivery to cut the cord to the afterbirth before we would let her up from the toilet...I can understand that a small hospital might inadvertently flush, but the afterbirth is still inside the mother. The cord must be cut unless the gestation is just a few weeks...
Another woman I admitted was told by her doctor to keep all "tissue" she dropped. When I admitted her she handed me a small jar with a lid and a baby about 5 inches long in the bottle....the poor woman was a basket case until she was able to give me the jar she had in her purse...
It is very tramatic for most women, emotionally and physically...Early gestation usually does not have a well developed afterbirth.
My wife had a miscarriage at home 13 weeks into her pregnancy and at our doctor’s instructions we retrieved the fetus from the toilet and took it to our doctor’s office for examination. Not sure how the remains were treated, but I’m sure they were not flushed. Fortunately she was carrying twins and our son was born 6 months later. He recently graduated with honors from law school and is an attorney in Minneapolis.
This tragic treatment of this traumatized mother is such a reflection of the moral schizophrenia of our nation because we allow the shedding of innocent blood ~ 4,000 times every day.
We are hardening hearts toward God and his incredible creation as the most vulnerable among us are treated like trash.
Forgive us, Lord!!!
Prayers for your friend and her husband. The hospital did the wrong here.
Even if you are not Catholic, call the Diocese where you are, explain what happened and ask for legal help. They should be able to direct you in a Christ=like manner.
Your friend has my sympathy and prayers. Regarding this horrible tragedy, I would recommend that she sit down with close friends and family and make a list of what she wants the hospital to do. At a minimum, I would suggest including at least six consoling sessions, that the hospital develop a new fool-proof internal procedure for dealing with miscarriages like this one, and universal annual training in this procedure for all hospital personal. Once she has a list put together, she will need to pay a widely feared attorney for a half-hour to draft a letter demanding these items using the threat of a large monetary lawsuit.
momfirst, I have no direct knowledge of the "right" way to proceed but at a minimum, your friends should demand a hospital policy change similar to what goat granny just described here.
Have your friend write a simple, concise dispassionate letter to the hospital administrator outlining the event. State in the letter that they have no intent to sue or seek publicity, but that the hospital must change its practice in this regard, and that they must see the new policy in writing. Request a meeting in person so the administrator can show them in writing how it is being handled. Set a deadline in the letter for when they expect a written response and a meeting in person, and simply state they will find it necessary to contact a lawyer, the press, and the state hospital licensing board and JCAHO if they hear nothing in response by the deadline.
Send it registered mail with a return receipt, and follow up with a phone call in 3-4 business days to the administrators office.
Thank you, Dr. Brian Kopp. What you suggested is a great way to start. Wonderful advice! The policies goat granny worked under seem medically appropriate AND compassionate.
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