Pregnant woman unconsciously loses baby while COVID-19 prevented ultrasound

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A Carbonear woman is in shock after discovering that she was carrying her baby for eight weeks after his death, a delay which she says could have been avoided without inadequate health care.

Linda King, 24, said a private clinic in St. John’s confirmed her worst fear after several trips to the emergency room and a scheduled ultrasound that was canceled due to COVID-19.

“I had a bump. … I had a baby bump, “she told CBC News on Thursday. “This baby was still inside me, but he just wasn’t alive. “

King said she was thrilled after her first gynecology appointment showed that she was about eight weeks old with her second child.

But soon after, King said, she got a stomach ache, couldn’t keep food, and at one point, she hadn’t eaten in days.

She went to Carbonear General Hospital several times in early March.

“They gave me a prescription for anti-nausea drugs and sent me on my way, but they never did a blood test, ultrasound, or checked the baby’s heartbeat,” said King.

Worried that something was wrong, King said she tried to see her gynecologist but was delayed.

King says she went to Carbonear General Hospital several times when she was sick to her stomach, but doctors and nurses did not check on the health of her eight-week-old fetus. (Eddy Kennedy / CBC)

“I asked for an appointment because I was so sick but I guess there was a long waiting list to get in. There were other people besides me and I had to wait my turn. “

At the end of the week, King was ordered to undergo a dating ultrasound, which determines the stage of pregnancy and the expected date of delivery.

Due to COVID-19, the ultrasound was canceled because it was deemed non-essential. He was told to wait for a letter in the mail with a date for his 20-week anatomical exam, which is crucial to determining a baby’s health.

“I have a doppler where you can listen to the baby’s heartbeat,” said King.

“Usually at 16 weeks it can be difficult to find the baby’s heartbeat, but I found [my son’s] early so I knew something was wrong when I knew I couldn’t find the baby’s heart rate. ”

Private clinic announces bad news

For a small fee, King went to the Athena clinic in St. John’s, which continued to do ultrasounds. She was able to arrive on the day of her call, so she made the hour-long trip to St. John’s.

“That’s when they gave me the bad news,” said King. “The baby had been gone for a long time and I had no idea. “

King had suffered what is called a missed miscarriage, when the loss is not manifestly apparent. The body does not expel the tissues of pregnancy.

Worse still, King said she had to wait two weeks for a procedure at Carbonear to remove the fetus.

“I just wanted to finish, finish. I didn’t want to take it with me, “she said. “Someone should have helped me and guided me alone instead of sending me home. “

Mother’s Day has been particularly difficult for King this year after discovering that his daughter died in utero. (Submitted by Linda King)

The young mother said her confidence in the health care system has been shaken and urges the provincial government to reassess what is considered essential.

“It was very frustrating to know that I never received the proper health care that I should have received,” she said.

“I was pregnant at that time, I was 16 weeks old, I should have at least seen the baby or done some blood tests when I went to the emergency room to find out if everything was fine, and I didn’t haven’t done. “

Wants to see changes

She finds it hard to know that she could have been told eight weeks earlier that her baby was gone. However, after a long wait, King was informed Thursday that she could see her psychiatrist in early June.

“There are so many patients and pregnant women who cannot see their doctor and I don’t think this ultrasound should have been canceled,” she said.

“I just want to see a change in the way the healthcare system treats everyone just COVID-19.” Everyone should be taken seriously, especially when you think something is wrong. “

Under the current alert level 4 of the province’s reopening plan, regional health authorities have begun authorizing the resumption of certain health services.

Eastern Health did not respond to a request from CBC News for comment at the time of publication.

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