SINGAPORE: The KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) said there were no records of a pregnant woman who had lost her baby at the hospital after allegedly waiting at the accident and emergency department for about four hours.
In response to CNA's queries on Thursday (Mar 24), Professor Tan Hak Koon, chairman for the Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) at KKH said that the hospital was not able to identify the patient despite its “best efforts”.
The unidentified woman had spoken about the alleged incident via the alternative news source Wake Up Singapore with a picture of a redacted hospital bill dated Feb 28. The post has been widely shared on social media.
In her account, the woman said she was 20 weeks pregnant when she tested positive for COVID-19. She claimed that she went to KKH's emergency department after experiencing severe abdominal pains. Two other private hospitals had earlier denied her treatment as she had COVID-19, she added.
The woman said she arrived at KKH at around 2pm but was told to wait at the drop-off area. She added that at 5pm, she started to bleed profusely but was still not attended to. At 6pm, a doctor checked and told her that she had suffered a miscarriage.
In response to the alleged incident, Prof Tan said: "There appears to be discrepancies between the story and the bill information shared online.”
"Preliminary investigations indicate that there is no such case at the hospital on the date indicated in the report."
He added that the hospital does not turn away patients who are in need of medical care.
“When a patient arrives at the (Urgent O&G Centre) UOGC, she will be triaged and attended to according to the severity and urgency of the condition,” said Prof Tan.
Hospital staff will also screen and re-triage patients in the waiting area as necessary as conditions may evolve to become more critical, he added.
Patients with the highest level of urgency will be attended to immediately, said Prof Tan, noting that the average waiting time for patients in the middle level of urgency is within 30 minutes.
In the event of a miscarriage, the UOGC staff will “support the patient through the loss process”. This includes performing ultrasound scans to ensure that there are no remaining tissue in the womb.
UNCLAIMED FETUSES NOT DISCARDED AS WASTE
In the online post, the woman also alleged that she was told to get a funeral home to contact the hospital to handle the burial of the fetus.
She claimed the hospital later told her husband that the fetus "has been out through medical waste".
Prof Tan said that patients are always given a choice to claim the fetus and would need to endorse their decision via form.
"Fetuses that are unclaimed, will be sent to the hospital's mortuary for burial or cremation, in accordance to the patient's choice, and will not be discarded as medical waste," said Prof Tan.
KKH has appealed to the woman to contact the hospital.
“We are concerned about the well-being of the patient cited in the report, and we appeal for the patient to contact us at feedback [at] kkh.com.sg for us to address her concerns and render the necessary support,” said Prof Tan.
This alleged incident comes after a nine-month pregnant woman lost her baby when she was left unattended for about two hours while bleeding at the National University Hospital (NUH) A&E department.
NUH apologised for the incident in a statement on Thursday, saying that it “should have done more to provide closer monitoring and care”.
NUH added that it will review its processes “so that such incidents do not happen again”.