A woman has suffered a miscarriage in a chair at the Royal Hobart Hospital because there was no bed available.

Attending the hospital’s emergency department, the woman was unable to access one of the nine empty beds available.

Speaking with ABC News, Neroli Ellis from the Nursing and Midwifery Federation said, “It is absolutely a dangerous situation at the moment, and we are calling on the Government to provide more funding to reopen some of these closed beds.”

“We’ve got situations in ED [emergency department] where mental health clients can’t even see natural light and they’re there for two to three days,” she said. “That breaches human rights conventions.”

Also speaking with the ABC News, Dr Tim Greenaway, President of the Australian Medical Association,  said the woman’s terrible experience reflected the dire state of Tasmania’s health system in general.

“The fact that this poor lady had to endure the indignity of what she went through in a chair when there were no beds available is a reflection on a system in crisis,” he said. “The problem is inadequate capacity, inadequate staffing, inadequate bed numbers,” Dr Greenaway said.

This is not the first time the hospital has publicly been rebuked for a seeming lack of care and services.  In January, Health Minister Michael Ferguson was forced to apologise after a 95-year-old woman was forced to lie on the floor while waiting to be seen at the hospital.

“To date, in recent weeks, our response has simply not been good enough,” he said. “I’m putting people on notice that I’m willing to consider action that would disrupt the old ways of running hospital emergency departments,” he said.

Image source: Shutterstock

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  • Just heartbreaking when you hear things like this :(


  • What a total and utter disgrace! Not on!


  • This is disgusting! This should not happen ever!


  • I would hate to work there. Imagine not being able to care for people the way that is ideal. There are no winners here.


  • Sadly, they’re not the only hospital with problems.


  • What a horrible thing to go through, especially in that situation! I really feel for her having been through this myself :(


  • Why was the women not given a bed if there was 9 available? The poor women to go through such a horrible experience on a chair. Not good enough.


  • OMG, this is such a terrible story. This woman’s miscarriage is tragic enough, but the indignity of having this happen in a chair in a hospital is unforgiveable.


  • Unfortunately this can happen. Also I have seen mothers who are booked for an elective caesarean section be put through a trial of scar or labour despite me pleading to get hold of the obstetrician . Some midwives sometimes paddle their own canoe so to speak. One feels so utterly helpless in these situations.


  • Without knowing all the details as in how far along was the lady & what risks she might have had to cause a miscarriage it would be wrong to judge the hospital for it.
    My 1st pregnancy (before the 3 month mark) I was told I would definitely miscarry when I presented with bleeding & was sent home rather than stay at the hospital so I could be more comfortable. Turned out I was pregnant with twins & lost one but there was no emotional attachment because I did not know at the time there were 2 babies. It happened again when I was further along on my 2nd pregnancy & I started having contractions as well as spotting. I had refused an obstetrician till that point because they had made my life hell with my first birth & caused PID. So went to my GP who had also been an Obstetrician but had left that side of medicine, she sent me for a tests & it turned out I was going to lose a twin again.
    As hard as it is to go through it there is little anyone can do to prevent it & if it is very early in a pregnancy they do not like to intervene. If you were a high risk pregnancy your doctor would have given you contact numbers in case it went wrong after hours & created a plan for you to use if something started going wrong.


  • This happened to me, too, basically. I was left sitting on a chair, blubbering, for hours in a waiting room, because there were no beds available, and as people walked in and were sent for X-rays and Ultrasounds because they were considered a ‘higher priority’ to me, because if I was having a miscarriage, there wasn’t much that could be done, anyway(a nurse’s words to me).
    Finally, I was seen, and an ultrasound showed that I appeared to still have a foetus, so they gave me a cup of tea and a sandwich, as I had been there so long, and pushed me to eat. Then a doctor came in to see me and explained that they had decided, based on dates, that my baby had stopped growing some weeks before, and that I needed a D&C. They prepped me for the operation and even had me on a drip, before the anaesthetist told me they couldn’t do it at the moment, because they had given me something to eat.
    They sent me home, on a Saturday, to return on the Monday for the op to remove ‘degenerative products of pregnancy’.
    The whole experience was extremely traumatic, and was handled, I believe, abominably by the hospital.


  • This is so sad and worse part all to common my daughter was misscarrying and got sent home the hospital said nothing we can do you will have to let it pass..


  • What an awful situation ! It would be good when there were more beds & staff.


  • This is shocking!!! Revolting is a better word. Which country do we live?! I really feel for this lady going through such a hard situation and didn’t have at least a proper care from our hospitals. :(


  • Thar is totally humiliating and disgusting for that dear woman. Our health systems needs to lift its game. People aren’t animals waiting in a vet clinic they must be afforded more dignity than that whilst they are waiting for treatment or care. Shame on our health system and those who are in charge of the running of it.


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