Lisa's Story - Clarence-Rockland Family Health Team, Rockland, Ontario

In February 2017 I had a miscarriage. It was discovered at the first ultrasound that the pregnancy was not viable. Luckily, I was able to get an appointment with my family doctor the same day to figure out what to do next. The ultrasound results were sent to my family doctor for the appointment, after seeing it, he prescribed me Misoprostol, advised me to take it before bed and I would wake up and everything would be over. It was clearly stated to both myself and my mom, who was with me, he said the Misoprostol may cause some mild discomfort, like period pain but nothing worse than that. Ok, that seems fine, I thought. So I went to the Walmart pharmacy in Rockland (not my usual pharmacy, but it was close to the doctor’s office). I submitted my prescription, waited and then they called me to pick it up and I was on my way. The only question the pharmacist asked was if I was getting the meds for the mouth or to be inserted vaginally, to which I replied vaginally. At my usual pharmacy (Shoppers Drug Mart) they ALWAYS take you aside and explain a medication if you have never taken it before... ALWAYS.

Night time came and it was time to get this terrible experience over with so I put the medication in and went to bed, expecting that I might have some mild cramping. I woke up about an hour or so later in excruciating pain, sweating and shaking and not knowing what was going on. I went downstairs to find my husband and almost passed out coming down the stairs. I was dizzy, confused, in more pain than I had ever felt in my life and could barely stand. This was the beginning of what was about to become a long night... and month. My husband was frantically running around trying to find anything to help with the pain/set up a spot on the main floor for me to, essentially, go into labour. With no pain medication and no idea what was about to happen. We called my sister in law, who is a nurse (thankfully we had her!) and she said we should definitely head to emergency. But we couldn't because I could not move, I was in so much pain. I couldn't even imagine being able to lie down flat on a stretcher even if we called an ambulance. So I stayed home and eventually, after about 8 hours or so I started to bleed. But I was 8 weeks along and no chunks came out, just blood. I thought it was odd so I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. He said it's fine, it just takes time and sent me off. Ok, I thought, I guess this is normal because he's my doctor who I trust(ed) so I headed home.

After a few weeks I was still bleeding, still no chunks or clots had come out and now the blood had turned brown. So I scheduled another appointment, asking for an ultrasound to ensure everything was out. He said no, you don't need an ultrasound, it's going to come out eventually, he was in the room with me for not even a minute, was halfway out the door as soon as he got in because he thought I was wasting his time by coming in again. A few weeks after that I was in the shower and a big thing, about the size of a pool ball dropped out. We went to emergency where finally I was taken seriously and finally someone would listen to me! I was seen immediately, given an ultrasound and they discovered that the fetus was still inside and was causing an infection, they were worried about me going septic. They immediately scheduled me for a D&C and were curious as to what happened. Why was I in the emergency room more than a month after my miscarriage with the fetus still inside? Why had I not been scheduled for a D&C? So I told them this story. They were horrified! Absolutely horrified! And told me that I should file a complaint so that nobody else has to go through what I did. I was referred to an amazing OB who didn't tell me until I became pregnant again that he was worried this would cause infertility. I am so lucky that it didn't.

In the moment it made me feel like I didn't matter. I just wanted to be a mom and at this moment my dream was crushed. I physically suffered unnecessarily for way longer than I needed to, and emotionally suffered for even longer. I wasn't able to mourn the lost pregnancy/idea of what could have been because I was too busy fighting to just be heard and helped.

When I look back at my experience it makes me sad but also angry that this is where we're at with women's health. How sad is that? It's ridiculous.

I spoke about the experience with my new OB and the hospital when I went to emergency, I felt comfortable with that and they needed to know what had happened, but that's it. I know there's no point in trying to fight doctors, they have the best lawyers so I feel that it would be a waste of time and money. Also, emotionally, I didn't have the energy because these types of cases take a long time and I just wanted to move on and try to forget about it.

Submitted by Lisa