6 September 2017
To whom it may concern.
My name is Hannah Sepecan and I was a patient at the Redlands Hospital in September last year. I wish to write about my experiences and treatment as a patient under care at the Redland Hospital.
I never want any other woman to go through what I went through. It has taken me a year to be able to handle writing about it as the memories are very traumatic for me.
Last year in September I started to badly bleed vaginally only a week after my period had ended.
Sensing something was not right I went to my GP who ran some blood tests. She rang me that evening on the 7th of September with the results of the tests which were that I was pregnant.
My husband Nathan and I were trying to have a baby so we were excited with the news, however I knew something was wrong.
She said that I should go up to emergency immediately because bleeding the amount that I was isn’t considered normal.
Nathan and I went immediately to the Redlands Emergency Room and proceeded to wait to be seen. I was terrified and the nurse straightaway informed me that if I was miscarrying there was nothing that could be done.
More tests were done and I was told my hcg levels were rising and to go home and ring the early pregnancy unit at the hospital to make an appointment. I also had a speculum exam which the kicked my husband out of the room for but I wanted him there but let two trainee nurses watch without asking my permission.
I knew something was wrong, I was already filling a pad with blood every two hours.
The next day the bleeding was even worse, I rang the early pregnancy unit as instructed and they promised to get back to me. They never did. I was very scared so I went back to Emergency and had to repeat the whole story again to the staff and yet again another long wait to be seen. When i finally got called, a nurse asked me to repeat the story again and she said it sounded like an ectopic pregnancy which I had never heard of. She then proceeded to explain what that was and the way to diagnose this for sure was to have an ultrasound and check my tubes, ovaries and other places where the baby might of implanted.
I started crying, I was tired and scared and I really wanted my baby to be ok. The nurse asked me “are you crying because you are scared or crying because you are going to lose your baby?”
She then proceed to talk about her own 4 children which made me cry more. I thought this was very insensitive, I know nurses are supposed to be professional however I think this was cruel.
I then had an ultrasound and nothing was seen, a gynaecologist came down and explained that I would have to have another ultrasound next week to find out more. He said I should come back if the bleeding was worse,
And like that I was sent home again.
The next day my bleeding was even worse, I felt dizzy and I couldn’t walk without bleeding. So up I went again to the emergency. I wait 2 hours to be seen in the waiting room. When my name was finally called I was told one of the gynaecologists would be notified to come down and talk to me.
I waited 5 hours to be seen, and when the gynaecologist came down he told me he had just been doing some paperwork in his office and no one had notified him that I was waiting to be seen.
His was an Asian doctor and could not understand my questions at all and just continued to repeat over and over the definition of an ectopic pregnancy.
I had more blood taken and my levels were still rising.
Yet again I was sent home and told to come back if things got worse.
I came back two days later for the follow up ultrasound, another speculum exam and the Asian doctor did some more bloods. I was left in the outpatients waiting room for two hours waiting for results.
Finally we asked what was going on and was informed the blood test machine was “broken”. The only results I got back were the ultrasound results which indicated that something was in my left tube.
I was sent home again.
The next day I tried to go to work, however I was bleeding so much I couldn’t stand behind the counter and basically needed to sit over the toilet because my huge pad was not absorbent enough.
My mum had to come pick me up from work and take me to the hospital. Yet again to the waiting room, I had to explain again and again why I was there, I was so traumatised that my mum had to talk for me plus I had to run to the toilet as I was bleeding so much.
Yet again another wait.
Finally I was seen by another gynaecologist who did another yet speculum exam and informed me that he was pretty certain it was an ectopic pregnancy and I was being admitted overnight for monitoring. I was hysterical, I was overtired, I was in pain and I was terrified. He then proceeded to tell me he would be back to let me know where I was going.
My mum and I were left in that room for 3 hours, no one told us anything.
Nathan showed up with a change of clothes.
Finally the Gynocologist came back and I was admitted to the hospital. I got put in the maternity ward. I was torture, I could hear babies crying all around me, there were baby photos on the walls, the nurses hardly gave me a second glance. They kept saying that would need to have an abortion. I hate that word.
I cried nearly the whole night. I had bruises up and down both my arms from the mount of blood tests I had been given and nurses who kept missing the vein.
The next morning my husband came back and 7 doctors all came in and surrounded my bed. I was told you have an ectopic pregnancy we can either try methotrexate or we can surgically remove your left tube, what do you want us to do? They then all proceeded to stare at me. I was shocked that they were so insensitive as to ask me something like that in the same way one would ask what colour they want their house painted.
Nathan suggested that I might need some time to think, and so they all went out.
I decided to try the methotrexate to save my left tube. I informed the doctors of my decision and I was informed someone would be back at 1pm to administer the needle.
It got to 5pm and no one had come. I was hysterical, babies were still crying all around me, I was bleeding more than ever and I felt so uncared for.
Finally I was informed that the nurses had had a changeover and no one had been notified to come and give me the shot.
A social working came in to visit bringing a bag of stuff and opened with the line “im sorry your baby died how far along were you 25 weeks?” She had confused me with another patient. She made things far worse. I did not want to talk with her.
Finally I was given Valium to be calmed down and that awful shot was administered.
I was sent home and told to come back the following week to be monitored.
I proceeded to return to Redlands as told to have blood tests to see if my hcg levels were dropping. I was informed things were going fine and that they were dropping.
However on Tuesday the 20th of September, I woke up with horrible pains in my tummy. I went to emergency again, was made to wait again, when I finally was seen I was told some pain was normal. They contacted the gynaecologists to come and see me. They never did. I was terrified of losing my tube. The doctor in emergency said to me that I was not going to lose my tube.
By this point I was loaded up on morphine and beside myself with grief. My bloods were done and other tests. I was still bleeding heavily. I had another ultrasound and I could clearly see myself there was something in my tube.
Finally a surgeon came down and bluntly informed me “you have an ectopic pregnancy in your left tube that is rupture and I will be removing your tube.”
I yelled “but the other doctor said I wouldn’t lose my tube!” I was crying hysterically and trashing around, the nurses were trying to restrain me. I kept repeating I want my baby I don’t want to lose my tube. They thought I was insane and wanted me admitted to the mental ward. Luckily a different social worker to the one who stuffed up last time said to them “don’t you understand how much this poor girl has gone through? Of course she would be upset like that”
I was very grateful to her.
The surgeon proceeded to tell me that there was no other choice and that 1 in 6 women will never get pregnant again, 2 in 6 women will have ectopic pregnancies again and 3 in 6 will go on to have babies.
Those odd were not comforting, I mean I was 23, had no other children and felt like my fertility was already taken from me.
Very very reluctantly I sign the surgery forms. The next thing I knew I was in surgery being put under.
When I woke up, I was back in the maternity ward, yet again surrounded by babies and photos of babies and uncaring nurses.
I cried and cried and cried.
The next morning the surgeon came back and told me my tube had been removed, and asked if I wanted to see the surgery photos. That was a big NO!
The nice social worker from the day before came back in to see how I was. She apologised for the way that the hospital treated me and encouraged me to write my story to help others wshen I was feeling up to it.
I was sent home that morning.
No one followed up from the hospital at all.
I hope that my story opens the eyes of the hospital to see some of the issues that need to be addressed.
I felt that no one was really taking me seriously that first week and a half.
I think that if someone has been in emergency several days in a row I shouldn’t have to start from scratch every day explaining my story and having to wait hours and hours just to even be heard.
I think that although nurses should be professional, I should not have to be asked insensitive questions about why I would be crying. I would think it would be obvious. I also don’t want to be told ectopic pregnancy treatment is an “Elective abortion” when the nurses knew this pregnancy was planned and very much wanted.
Most importantly I think it is very cruel to place me in a maternity ward, not once but twice. How do you think that made me feel? All I could think about was “I can hear all the crying babies and I am killing mine and don’t know if I will be able to have babies”
It was agonising.
I also think that I should not have been made to wait 4 hours for a methotrexate shot.
I was scared enough about getting it, and then to find out the nurses forgot about me was extremely horrible.
I hope that the hospital take my letter seriously.
This experience still haunts me to this day. After I went home from hospital, I was extremely depressed, I couldn’t work I had to leave my job, I was traumatised by hearing babies anywhere. I had to seek out a psychologist to get treatment.
Luckily my story has somewhat of a happy ending, I fell pregnant again 5 months later. My pregnancy was confirmed in the right place however it took me a very long time to be able to talk about it or even tell others I was pregnant.
I am too traumatised to have my baby at the Redland Hospital, so even though it’s a 45 minute drive away, I am receiving antenatal care and will be birthing at the Logan Hospital.
I hope that my telling my story will make a difference with the way ectopic pregnancy patients are treated in the future at the Redlands Hospital.
Thank you for Reading