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Apology after miscarriage at the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford

By Aidan Barlow

A health trust has apologised to a woman who was told to walk from A&E to a delivery room on the other side of the hospital while suffering a miscarriage.

Lena Bayfield, 32, from Singleton in Ashford, was admitted to the William Harvey Hospital in September after suffering severe abdominal pain.

She believes that doctors and midwives should have known she was at a greater risk of having a miscarriage because she suffers from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Lena lost her baby Isabella after 19 weeks.

Lena lost her baby Isabella after 19 weeks.

Women affected by the condition have higher levels of androgens (male hormones), which can cause difficulty getting pregnant and increase the risk of miscarriages.

The condition also meant Ms Bayfield had problems with her cervix, causing her waters to break early during her pregnancy and leaving her with severe pains requiring visits to hospital.

Ms Bayfield said: “The pain was so severe that I would end up at A&E, I was bleeding and in pain. Staff checked my baby and she was healthy, but I wasn’t checked internally. They believed that because my baby was normal I was normal.

“They were aware of my condition, but I wasn’t referred to a consultant. If I was diabetic or had HIV it would be scandalous, but my condition is no different from someone seriously ill.”

The William Harvey Hospital in Ashford

The William Harvey Hospital in Ashford

She was sent a letter about seeing a specialist consultant when she reached 20 weeks in her pregnancy, but tragically she suffered the miscarriage just days before the appointment, losing her baby daughter, Isabella.

Ms Bayfield has described how she went into premature labour, but says the paramedics called to her home didn’t believe her.

She said: “The paramedic displayed a very bad attitude, I think she thought I was putting it on. Earlier I’d had an ultrasound scan, so she said I couldn’t be going into labour. She asked me to open my legs to look.

“She was reluctant to take me to hospital but did so because she called the midwife to check.

The hospital has apologised to Lena

The hospital has apologised to Lena

“Then at the hospital I was told to walk from A&E to the delivery room, from one side of the hospital to the other. I could feel the amniotic sac between my legs.”

It was Ms Bayfield’s first pregnancy, and now she fears she has lost her last chance to have a child.

She said: “It’s distressing for me to talk about. I am very upset and emotional that I lost my baby. I don’t know how to put it into words.

“For years I wanted a child. I was told it was nearly impossible for me to get pregnant without treatment. So when I was told I was pregnant I was shocked, but I was so pleased it was happening.

"I didn't expect things to go so wrong." 

The ambulance service has also apologised.

The ambulance service has also apologised.

Now, Lena and her mum Wafa Bayfield have set up a petition in a bid to raise awareness for other women with the same condition.

They are also calling on the health service to let them know about a cervical stitch procedure which can help prevent miscarriage.

It has so far gained more than 10,000 signatures online. She said: “I’ve been contacted by lots of women who have had similar experiences from around the world.

“The necessary procedures aren’t being put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen. Just because it’s common that this is misdiagnosed does not mean that it is acceptable. Proper checks need to be put in place.”

East Kent Hospitals chief nurse and director of quality Sally Smith said: "We are sorry that Ms Bayfield has concerns about her care, and we extend our condolences to Ms Bayfield for her sad loss. 

Lena Bayfield (right) at home with her mum Wafa Bayfield

Lena Bayfield (right) at home with her mum Wafa Bayfield

“It would not be appropriate for us to comment on a patient’s specific circumstances through the press, but we are responding directly to Ms Bayfield to reassure her and explain her care.

“As a general rule, a cervical stitch would only be offered to women with specific medical needs, because there are risks involved with the procedure.”

Ms Bayfield has also received a letter from the ambulance service’s patient experience manager, Graham Parrish, expressing “sincere apologies on behalf of the trust”.

In the letter, Mr Parrish explained that the paramedic was “extremely upset” to hear about the miscarriage and “expressed her deep regret” about Ms Bayfield’s concerns.

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