FATHERS SUFFER THE PAIN OF MISCARRIAGE TOO.
To Whom It May Concern:
I have to say that the treatment my wife, Rebecca (or Becky), and I received while in your hospital on Friday, May 16, 2014 when my wife was experiencing our 3rd miscarriage was completely horrible and unacceptable.
We were made to feel that we did not matter because we lost our baby, who we named Johnathan Jacob. In addition, we were made to feel that our son did not matter either.
The unfortunate experience started when we came to the registration desk for the emergency room around 9:40am that morning. The receptionist did nothing to get Becky into a treatment room as soon as possible. The nursing staff failed to ask Becky what medication, if any, she was taking. The OB doctor on call was completely insensitive and uncaring. The nursing staff on the OB floor was borderline incompetent and treated our son as if he was nothing. They also were insensitive to the situation when they moved Becky from the birthing room to a regular room. They placed her in a room very close to the nursery. She had a woman in the room next to her in labor. There were no feelings of compassion towards her or myself.
Unlike other hospitals, Trinity does not have any program to assist with the burial of lost pregnancies. There was no special treatment or caring given towards the parents of the lost child. When we decided to take our son to a funeral home in Bismarck so he could be placed in the Garden of Peace in Fairview Cemetery, our son was handled callously and without consideration.
I do not know what else to say. I have attached a complete detailing of the experiences that we have had with the three miscarriages we have had since March 1, 2013. There are vast differences between how your hospital handles a miscarriage and how Sanford Hospital in Bismarck handles a miscarriage.
I fear for any other woman who has only experienced a miscarriage at Trinity because they deserve so much better than they are getting. No parent should ever be treated like they or their child does not matter when the life of the child is guaranteed to be lost no matter what.
The last year and a half has been a living hell for my wife and I, and our experience at your hospital emergency room and obstetrics/birthing floor did not help in any way.
My wife, Rebecca, and I lost our first child to miscarriage at 12 weeks pregnancy on March 1, 2013. This happened at home. I do not hold you responsible for this. It was too early to determine the sex of the baby, but we were both kind of hoping for a little girl, so we name the baby Annie Lynn. Your hospital had nothing to do with this. The staff at Sanford Hospital, however told us that our baby would be taken to the Garden of Peace at Fairview Cemetery. She was buried on October 15, 2013 as part of the National Pregnancy/Infant Loss Day. This gave us some piece of mind because we knew that our baby would be respectfully taken care of.
My wife and I lost our second child to miscarriage at 18 weeks pregnancy on October 25, 2013. This happened at Sanford Hospital in Bismarck. The details of this miscarriage are important because this is how a hospital should treat someone who is experiencing a miscarriage.
Rebecca (aka Becky) started having some issues around 9:30am the morning of October 25, 2013. We called the obstetrics clinic at Sanford while we were en route from our apartment in Gackle, ND. They told us to come to the clinic and they would check on how things were going. Dr. Danielson was the OB doctor on call. He checked my wife, and said that we were going to lose the baby. He said that he was not going to let her leave until he knew everything was all right with her and the miscarriage was completed. He promptly admitted her to the birthing floor of the hospital. They placed my wife in a room that was as far away from the nursery and other patients as possible. They made sure that we would not be exposed to anything that could upset us with what we were dealing with. They did an ultrasound, and were able to tell that the baby was extremely low and only had a heartbeat of approximately 44 beats per minute. We knew at that point we were going to lose the baby, and there was nothing that could be done to save the baby. They would do whatever was necessary to make sure Becky and I were comfortable and being supported during this time of grief.
The staff on call was very caring, and made sure that Becky was as comfortable as possible. They also told me that before we got to the room that they had already assigned a spare bed for me so that I could be by Becky as much as possible. Before the inevitable arrival of our child, they also offered a chaplain. The chaplain also got in touch with our local pastor and he even made a special trip to Bismarck to be by our side through this tumultuous time. Everything with my wife was checked out and when needed, pain medications were administered. The nursing staff did their best to never made Becky feel like any less of a person for not being able to carry a child full term. They also made both Becky and I feel like our child mattered, even if it never had a chance to live. At approximately 4:20pm, our son William Allen was born. We did not know before then that we were going to have a boy. Our pastor baptized him as well. Dr. Danielson then gave Becky some kind of medication to help her pass the placenta. About an
hour and a half later, she successfully passed the entire placenta. Dr. Danielson said that she would not need any surgery after this.
The nursing staff made sure that Becky and I had time with William. We were able to hold him, they took pictures of us with him, and they made a special certificate to acknowledge his arrival. They did their best to make castings of his feet and hands, but they were too delicate to make them turn out properly. We were allowed to keep and hold William as much as possible before we left the hospital. When we were ready for discharge the next morning, the staff had placed together a basket with some simple food items (i.e., summer sausage, crackers, sparkling juice, fruit). They also made a memory box with some simple things for us including a CD with the pictures they took of us and William, a copy of the book The Christmas Box, a bracelet set for mommy and baby, his certificate, a small quilt, and a few other items to help us with the process of losing a child. They told us several times that if we needed anything else after we left to let them know and they would do their best to help us. They also made sure we had contact information with the Angel Babies Pregnancy Loss support group to further assist us with our grieving process. On top of all that, they said that William would be taken to the Garden of Peace to be buried on October 15, 2014 for the National Pregnancy/Infant Loss Day ceremony at Fairview Cemetery.
The above description is how you properly deal with someone who is losing a child at any stage in pregnancy.
Now, this is the part where I hold you completely responsible. My wife, mother, and I were at Minot State University for my graduation with my Master’s Degree in Teaching Mathematics. I had completed the hooding ceremony around 9:00am. Becky was saying she felt strange, but nothing else was happening at that time. We went to the MSU Dome so that I could be lined up for the full graduation ceremony. At 9:20am, she contacted me from the bathroom and said she was bleeding. I told my mom, and she went and got the car. We managed to get to the emergency room at approximately 9:35am. Becky and I walked up to the registration desk. I told the receptionist that my wife was miscarrying. She made a bracelet for her, and asked if she would want a wheelchair. We said we would appreciate that. She brought us the chair and said someone would come get her as soon as possible. Well, that timeframe was not good enough. After sitting in the wheelchair for approximately 2 minutes, Becky’s bleeding increased dramatically. I walked up to the desk and said that either someone come and bring my wife back into the trauma area or else I was going to take her back there myself. A nurse came out and escorted us immediately after that.
When they had Becky get out of her clothes to put on the hospital gown, blood went everywhere on the floor. The nurse went running out of the room as if she was scared and did not know what to do. Another nurse came in and cleaned up everything and got Becky situated. The doctor came in and said they were going to do a pelvic examination as well as an ultrasound to see what was going on. In the meantime, someone came in and started her IV up towards her elbow on her left arm. I just thought the placement of the IV was a little strange. They drew some blood
samples as well. After being in the ER for about an hour, Becky had to tell them what medications she was on. Nobody had bothered to ask her if she was taking anything. They were just going to start pumping drugs in her without checking what was already in her system. While the doctor was doing the pelvic exam, Becky’s water broke. A little bit after that, a technician came in with a mobile ultrasound machine and did an abdominal ultrasound. They showed us the baby’s face, the legs, and arms. The doctor came back in and said the ultrasound report showed that there was a massive placental rupture, and there was no amniotic fluid around the baby (I do not remember the exact terminology). They said they had talked to the OB on call, Dr. Bozeman. They said they were going to admit Becky to the OB floor. It seemed like it was taking forever for us to get some kind of answer or action from anybody in the emergency room or from the OB doctor. We did not see him during any point while we were in the emergency room.
They finally moved her to the OB floor about 2.5 to 3 hours after we arrived at the hospital. About an hour after that, we finally met Dr. Bozeman. He said that they would do what they could to make Becky comfortable. It was not until about an hour after that when Becky finally got some pain medications. At approximately 2:55pm, our second son, Johnathan Jacob Benner arrived. Dr. Bozeman came into the room to take care of the baby and Becky. He did ask if I would want to cut the cord, but I just could not bring myself to do it. He then looked at Becky and said, “You do know that the baby is not alive?” This upset both Becky and I because we had told him that we had lost two previous pregnancies. Dr. Bozeman and the nurse administered some kind of drug to help Becky pass the placenta. She did pass the placenta, and they just put it in a container on the counter and left it there. I had to go ask the nurse to take it out of the room because it should not have been left there in the first place. They treated Johnathan as if he was not important and left him on the warmer in the room uncovered and exposed. I had to go cover him up so that he was taken care of.
The nurse tried to do some prints of his feet and hands. The nurse could not even read the scale properly to weigh him. I had to make the corrections on the card showing his measurements. I felt that the staff was inept and incapable of doing anything correctly at this point. After Becky had passed the placenta, Dr. Bozeman asked if she wanted to go home. I immediately objected because I had to be taken 40 miles away to get our belongings and car from my mother’s house. I needed to make sure that Becky would be properly taken care of if something happened during the night. I did not want to take the risk of something happening while we were at my mom’s during the evening. Becky called me around 2:00am on Saturday morning (May 17, 2014). She said she could not sleep, even with taking an Ambien. The staff told her they would not be able to give her anything else to help with her sleeping issues. I had left before she was transferred from the birthing room to a different room. She told me that she was placed close to the nursery, by the lobby doors to the elevator, and in a room next to another woman in labor. There were plenty of other rooms on the floor where she would be been more isolated and left in peace for the evening.
When I arrived Saturday morning to pick her up from the hospital, the discharge nurse stated that when Becky went to the bathroom around 3:00am that she passed a part of the placenta that was still inside her after Johnathan arrived. Now Becky is having doubts as to if she has some more pieces of placenta left that have yet to come out. Another unfortunate event with this experience
at the hospital is that we were not given any option to have Johnathan taken to any kind of pregnancy loss services. Our options were only listed as talking to a funeral home for cremation or sign over the baby for the pathology department to “dispose of the fetus.” When we were told this, our hearts were ripped out. The way they said it to us made us feel that our baby did not matter, we did not matter, and we were a burden to the staff for being there. It was by far the most horrible experience I have ever had at any medical facility.
This story takes a better turn during the morning of Monday, May 19, 2014. Becky and I had been spending some time with friends after this whole ordeal. We went to see the clinic at Sanford in Bismarck. We wanted to make sure the clinic had all the information from this because Becky was supposed to have her 17-week check-up with her doctor. This appointment was told to be kept but it obviously has changed in its nature. We also stopped up to see the nurses that took care of us during our miscarriage in October. The main nurse that was there in October was working that morning. After Becky told her what happened in Minot, she was apologizing profusely. She then told us we should call Trinity to see if they still had Johnathan so that we could bring him down to the Eastgate Funeral Home so that Johnathan could be buried with his brother and sister at the Garden of Peace. We did not feel that we could actually handle making that particular phone call. She offered to make the phone call for us. She asked for Becky’s date of birth, the name of the doctor that saw her in Minot, and a phone number to which she could contact us. She called about 20 minutes later, and said that the pathology department still had Johnathan, and we would be able to go to Minot and get him Tuesday, May 20, 2014. She told us to come back to talk to her, and she would have the information we would need to pick up Johnathan. She also had the information for us to take him to the funeral home in Bismarck so he would be buried with William during the burial ceremony on October 15, 2014.
I have to say that I was greatly displeased with the care that was taken with our child. When we arrived at the laboratory on the morning of Tuesday, May 20, 2014, we were told to wait for the housing supervisor to come and talk to us. This made us feel rather nervous, we started thinking that something had happened with our baby, and they had lost him. They asked for Becky’s driver’s license, but she left it in her purse in our car. They said they would be able to release him into our custody with my driver’s license. I understand this so they do not release the wrong child to the wrong parent. The part I was upset about was how the woman gave us our son. She handed him to me in an opaque looking canister that resembled a butter container and that was in a plastic bag that people use to put their clothes in while they are at the hospital. Her exact words were “Here is your child.” She had no care or compassion when she handed him to me. She acted as if we were bothering her. The feeling my wife got was that her attitude was saying we were idiots because we had signed the paperwork to sign him over to pathology, but then we had changed our minds. It is rather unfair to expect parents to decide on what to do with their child during such a horrific time in their lives. I carefully wrapped him in a blanket, and we left the hospital to bring him to a better place where he would be respected and properly taken care of.
Later that morning, we arrived back in Bismarck. We immediately went to the Eastgate Funeral Home. When we arrived at the funeral home, we were politely greeted by Joe Braun at the front desk area. He apologized profusely for us losing our child. He stated that he had talked to the
nurse and the head of the birthing center at Sanford Hospital. He was completely aware of our situation, and felt that there were some definite lapses in the spectrum of the care that we received. When I gave him Johnathan’s remains, he was shocked and appalled in the manner that his remains were watched after. He just could not understand how a facility could treat people in this particular situation.
The morning of Wednesday, May 21, 2014, we had the appointment with Becky’s regular OB-GYN doctor. He doctor was astonished with the way we were treated while in your care. She apoligized for the care we had received in Minot even though she had nothing to do with it. She was especially upset when she found out about the piece of placenta being passed and nothing else was done to see if there was possibly more placenta still in her uterus. Becky had to have another ultrasound performed to see if there was anything left. We were also referred to a reproductive endocrinologist to see what is causing Becky to miscarry every time she is pregnant. The issue that she is seeing is that Becky actually goes into labor and then the baby passes away instead of the baby passing away and then Becky going into labor. The ultrasound results showed nothing was out of the ordinary. In my point of view, this ultrasound was unnecessary because this is something that should have been taken care by the personnel at your facility.
Later in the afternoon of May 21, 2014, we had an appointment with Becky’s psychiatrist. We had seen her the morning of May 19, 2014. She was shocked that people would willingly treat other people in the manner in which we were handled at Trinity Hospital. She couldn’t believe people could be that inhumane to another human being. She helped get some medication for Becky to sleep, and stated that she wanted to see us after the appointment with Becky’s OB-GYN doctor because she wanted to know what was going on with this much needed follow-up appointment.
This entire experience has left me thinking about all the women that have experienced a miscarriage at your hospital. If they have never experienced this outside of Trinity Hospital, they could actually believe that this is the normal procedures for hospital treatment of people with. If they think that this is the norm for treatment, then they are severely misinformed and poorly treated. It is just amazing how different and polarizing two facilities that are supposed to be doing their best to make their customers as comfortable as possible while in their care.