Joanne Cotton with her son Braidyn, 6. Mrs Cotton was sent home from hospital despite carrying a dead foetus.
Joanne Cotton with her son Braidyn, 6. Mrs Cotton was sent home from hospital despite carrying a dead foetus. Brett Wortman

Mum's miscarriage trauma

JOANNE Cotton's baby died in her womb at least two weeks ago, but she was told by Nambour General Hospital to go home "until bleeding or cramping starts".

The Mooloolah mother spent hours in the emergency department on Friday evening and Monday morning after a scan discovered the baby she expected to be 10 weeks old had died at eight weeks.

This is Mrs Cotton's third miscarriage.

MRS Cotton was expecting to be booked in for a dilation and curettage, the procedure which removes the foetus from the womb. But she was told by a hospital nurse after waiting for hours on Friday and then nearly five hours on Monday that they were "too busy" and did not perform "routine D&C's".

"They said I must only come back if bleeding or cramping starts," Mrs Cotton said.

She was advised her other option was to attend a private day surgery at an estimated cost of $430.

Sunshine Coast Health Service District CEO Kevin Hegarty apologised after being contacted by the Daily.

"Mrs Cotton was incorrectly advised that such a procedure was not routinely performed at Nambour Hospital," Mr Hegarty said.

"This procedure could have been carried out and I apologise to Ms Cotton for this communication error and the distress it has no doubt caused."

The thought of carrying the dead child Mrs Cotton and her husband Adam were so desperately hoping for had almost been too much.

Her GP also contacted the hospital yesterday and she has finally been booked in for 7am this morning.

The hospital told her doctor she had been booked in for the surgery last Saturday, but no one had bothered to tell her.

"I saw a doctor at the emergency department on Friday night and he was trying to find the gynaecologist to see me. She was busy delivering a baby and he wasn't sure how long she would be,'' Mrs Cotton said.

"After half an hour he said come back tomorrow. I thought it was (only) to see the doctor again.

"I telephoned in the morning to say I wouldn't be in as I had my (six-year-old son) with me and my husband is working at the mines in Perth.

"They didn't say anything about me being booked in. They also didn't say anything about this when I was there on Monday.

"There was no communication. They didn't even look at my file."

Mr Hegarty asked a senior clinician "to contact Mrs Cotton as a matter of urgency to discuss this" yesterday afternoon. Mrs Cotton said a doctor had apologised.

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