Lost baby cremated before couple could say goodbye
LOSING her baby during her first trimester was one of the hardest things Tammy Skinner has ever had to go through.
Now she wants to provide support for other mothers going through the same experience - support she said was sorely lacking.
At 12 weeks gestation in May, 2011, Tammy suffered a miscarriage.
Her husband Damian rushed her to the Dalby Hospital where she said she was treated rudely by an agency nurse.
She said her husband was kept out of the room and told nothing.
"It was hard, extremely hard. The nurse was very rude," Tammy said.
"Damian had come straight from a 12-hour shift and, when we lost the baby, I needed him to go home and grieve in private.
"The nurse was rude to him because he wasn't going to stay the night."
The couple was given no option of seeing their baby, something Tammy said was a form of closure she was robbed of.
It was not until December the couple found out their baby had been a boy.
"We found out that he had had pathology done in Dalby and then sent to Toowoomba for a group cremation," Tammy said.
"We weren't told anything. We had to dig and ask and ask.
"My counsellor found out he had been cremated, a group cremation with other babies, and they had scattered his ashes at a memorial rock in Toowoomba. Our baby."
It is the feeling of being kept in the dark, coupled with her grief that Tammy wishes to spare from other mothers.
"If I can help someone else then maybe I can feel like my baby didn't die in vain," she said.
"Every loss is important - it doesn't matter how far along you are.
"I just don't think it's fair they can do that to us. They stole our rights as parents."
Dalby Hospital director of nursing Colleen Rasmussen acknowledged there should have been better communication with the Skinners during and after Tammy's care.
"The staff at Dalby Hospital and I would like to say how sorry we are for the loss that Tammy Skinner and her husband have been through," Mrs Rasmussen said.
"The loss of a pregnancy can be severely traumatising and the health service regrets that actions of its staff may have worsened this trauma.
"It is always our aim to provide the best care possible."
Mrs Rasmussen said Queensland Health had recently reviewed its Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Guidelines and now recommended that women who experienced miscarriage from 12 weeks gestation should be given the option to view their baby.
Tammy is now using her experience of loss to help others who have faced the same heartbreak.
She has started the Western Downs Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Support Group for fathers and mothers.
The first meeting will be held at the MYCNC on Tuesday, June 18 at 6pm.
All are welcome however parents are asked not to bring children, out of courtesy to others present.