A FORMER Barry resident has shared her heartache at being told her miscarried baby’s remains would be incinerated as clinical waste.
Former Bryn Hafren pupil Cathryn Hurley (nee Scott) discovered during a 13-week pregnancy scan that her baby had died at eight weeks, on November 28, 2008.
She attended Llandough Hospital for a medical management procedure on December 5 – where she was given the traumatic news.
Thirty-five-year-old Cathryn is now a mum of three to Eva, four, Owen, two, and Isaac, two weeks old, and Cardiff & Vale University Health Board (UHB) has since changed its procedures on disposing of foetal remains.
Details of how NHS trusts treat parents who lose a child in early pregnancy were revealed by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme broadcast this week (March 24).
Cathryn said: “I was hysterical. I was crying. I asked one of the nurses what would happen to my baby, and she just said well it will be incinerated with the rest of the day’s waste.
“That was really difficult to hear because to me it wasn’t waste, it was my baby.
“I found it such a difficult thing to go through and I wanted to let other women and couples know they are not alone. A lot of people don't talk about it because it is so emotional
“I never imagined it would lead to a law being changed. I'm so glad no-one else will have to go through what we did. Miscarriage is hard enough without the insensitive practice of babies being incinerated.”
Cardiff and Vale UHB told the Barry & District News it was very sorry to hear of Ms Hurley’s experience and of the enduring distress she feels following the sad loss of her pregnancy in late 2008.
A spokesman said: “It is difficult for us to comment on Ms Hurley’s case, both for reasons of patient confidentiality and because it appears we have no record of Ms Hurley having made any complaint at the time.
“We will be making contact with Ms Hurley to offer her the opportunity to meet with representatives of our clinical team to discuss her concerns and to support her in any way we can.
“Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, which was established in October 2009, inherited an unsatisfactory position in relation to the disposal of foetal remains from its predecessor trust.
“As a result, in 2011, the UHB set up a task and finish group to review the UHB’s approach to this extremely sensitive issue and to ensure best practice was embedded across the organisation.
"In 2013, the UHB Board received and commented on a draft policy for the Management of Foetal Remains, which was subsequently adopted by the Board at its January 2014 meeting. As a result, the process now complies with best practice in relation to the sensitive disposal of foetal remains.”
The Department of Health responded to the revelations uncovered by the Channel 4 Dispatches investigation by issuing an instant ban on incinerating foetal remains.
Channel 4 Dispatches: Amanda Holden: Exposing Hospital Heartache, is available to view on 4oD.