Queensland premier reveals personal pain of tragic miscarriage

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is no longer Queensland's preferred leader, a poll has found.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is no longer Queensland's preferred leader, a poll has found. Photo: AAP

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has divulged her personal trauma of suffering a miscarriage as another woman’s harrowing experience sparks an internal review of hospital services.

Ms Palaszczuk’s emotional confession came during questioning about allegations a woman was traumatised by the hospital treatment she received after a painful miscarriage.

“I have also had a miscarriage,” Ms Palaszczuk told Nine’s Today program on Thursday.

“I do know exactly what it’s like.

“It is horrific and stays with you for the rest of your life.”

Ms Palaszczuk said she was at home the day she lost her pregnancy.

“I had it in my house,” she said.

“I went to work – I was completely in shock.

“This was many, many years ago of course, before I was a politician. But I know the trauma that women go through.

“It is heartbreaking, it is very hurtful and you’re in shock, and you don’t know what to do.”

The personal revelation came after the Queensland government ordered a full internal review of Ipswich Hospital.

Nikkole Southwell, who was 12 weeks pregnant when she lost her child in April, this week claimed paramedics placed the foetus in a biohazard bag on the way to the hospital.

The Fernvale woman said she had to sit in the hospital waiting room holding the bag with sheets around her waist.

Ms Palaszczuk said she felt for Ms Southwell.

“I’m going to be personally involved with the minister to ensure that these things definitely do not happen again in our public hospitals,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s right and the health minister is convening … an urgent round-table to discuss these very important issues.”

Ms Southwell also said she was treated on a hospital bed smeared with another patient’s blood.

She alleged hospital staff used her partner’s phone torch rather than the appropriate medical equipment during an examination before she was discharged.

Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates said Ms Southwell’s treatment was proof the state’s reported crisis in maternity services was real.

“We’re seeing issues in maternity services up and down the state,” she said.

“We have staff who have been under-resourced at all of our hospitals, whether it be maternity or particularly in the [emergency] department.”

Miscarriages are known to occur in at least 15 per cent of confirmed pregnancies, according to Miscarriage Australia.

“The actual miscarriage rate is likely to be much higher – we estimate it to be around one in four pregnancies,” its research states.

Ms Palaszczuk said it was a traumatic issue women faced every day.

“It’s a traumatic time … and we don’t talk about it,” she said.

“I think there are conversations that need to happen, but also the healthcare system needs to respond because so many times we focus on the woman having the baby and not the person who’s lost the baby.”

Senior clinicians will lead the internal review, which is expected to take at least 30 days before recommendations are publicly released.


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