Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.52 18 Jun 2021


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A man who could not go into a maternity hospital as his wife suffered a miscarriage has said trying to console the person he loves through text messages was 'barbaric'.

'John' said his wife woke him up at 6.30am on Thursday morning when something was wrong.

He said when they got to the hospital, he was was told he could not go any further.

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And he criticised the HSE for not doing enough.

He told The Hard Shoulder: "She called me into the bathroom and showed me - to me, it looked like it could have been spotting.

"So we went to the GP and the GP said 'Yes, that's possible that it's just a bit of spotting'.

"He said go home, rest, if it gets any worse get yourself to the Coombe.

"So he gave us a letter to bring home, just in case we had to use it."

'You have to leave'

But John said things changed later in the day.

"Unfortunately we did have to use it - just after 1 o'clock in the afternoon we raced into the Coombe.

"We went in, explained what was going on and they told us 'There's the emergency door, you've got to go in there'.

"And he pointed at me and said 'You have to leave'.

"So I said 'No', I actually had a screenshot on my phone of an article that was in the media on May 13th that said that the HSE had advised hospitals to change the rules.

"I pulled it out, I showed it to them - they kind of just looked at it blankly, didn't even really acknowledge it."

John said he then went back to sit in his car and wait.

"Trying to console the person that you love, when this is going on, by text message: barbaric.

"And the ramifications of it - obviously we're not the only people this has happened to, I'm sure.

"I got thinking then last night: what if it's a mental health issue that this is causing people?

"Both husbands and wives, it was horrific, and it makes no sense.

"They said to us 'Yeah you can come into the 12-week scan, the 20-week scan and the labour'... but I can't be there for this sort of an emergency?

"People can go into Penneys and buy flipflops and beach towels, but I can't be there with my wife when she's losing a baby?"

'Made to feel like a criminal'

John said the HSE should be talking less, and doing more, on the issue.

"I heard (HSE CEO) Paul Reid speak yesterday, saying they were in discussions to change this.

"They need to discuss less and do more."

And he added that the way it was handled made him feel like a criminal.

"It was done in front of plenty of other women who were sitting on chairs, waiting to be seen.

"They were looking at all this - that's going to frighten them as well, given the situation that they're in.

"It felt like I was being made to feel like a criminal... towards me anyway, zero sympathy.

"My wife was well looked after when she got into the emergency room, but it's like the dad's a second class citizen in these places - particularly yesterday.

"That's all I wanted to do, just be beside her, hold her hand and reassure her - that's all I wanted to do.

"But I had to do it via WhatsApp instead".

When this was put to HSE CEO Paul Reid on The Hard Shoulder on Thursday, he said he was "sorry to hear that case".

Main image: Composite photo shows a man texting on a phone and a hospital directory. Picture by: Sebastian Gollnow/DPA/Lynne Cameron/PA Archive/PA Images

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Coombe Hospital Hospital Restrictions Maternity Hospital Miscarriage Restrictions The Hard Shoulder

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