Woman left to discover jar containing her baby

by Lisa Adams, Oct 8, 2002, Scottish Daily Record

9 Week Old Fetus

A WOMAN who had an abortion was stunned to find the foetus left in a jar after a hospital blunder.

Nicola McManus made the horrific discovery when she was left in a room to answer a phone call from her husband.

The jar was labelled with her name.

She said: "I fell apart. I couldn't believe anyone could be careless enough just to leave it lying there. That image will live with me forever."

Mum-of-three Nicola, 27, received a a full apology from the hospital but plans to sue North Glasgow NHS Trust, claiming the handling of the abortion left her psychologically scarred.

She took the RU486 abortion pill, which requires no surgery and is supposed to make terminations easier.

However, she said it no quick fix and she was offered no counselling by Glasgow's Stobhill Hospital.

She said: "They explained the procedure and got me to sign some forms. But no one actually sat down and asked me if this was what I really wanted to do.

"I was struggling to get my head around it. They made me feel just like a number."

Nicola, from Lennoxtown, near Glasgow, was nine weeks pregnant when she had the abortion in August.

She and husband Frank, 26, who is epileptic, decided a fourth child would be too much to cope with.

Nicola's eldest son, Nathan, six, has behavioural problems and demands a large chunk of her time, as do Aiden, four, and baby Bethany.

The abortion pill works by causing a miscarriage. Nicola lay for hours in the ward waiting for it to take effect, then felt intense pain.

She said: "I wanted Frank to hold my hand but was told he could only stay during visiting hours. I was in a lot of pain and felt so alone."

Then, said Nicola: "They gave me a bed pan to take to the loo and something to cover it up. Eventually, I felt it happen. I was really upset. I've never felt so low."

She was relieved when Frank phoned to find out how she was.

Nurses showed her in to a side room to take the call and that's when she saw the jar containing the foetus.

She said: "I was mid-conversation and saw it. I told Frank and he tried to comfort me but I wasn't listening any more. I was crying.

"I was clearly upset when I returned to the ward and the nurses asked what was wrong. How could they not know?"

Nicola filed an official complaint and received an apologetic letter from the trust which said the room was not normally used by patients.

General manager Mary McGinley wrote: "Unfortunately, the products of conception from your termination were in a labelled jar ready to be sent to pathology and awaiting collection.

"The ward sister apologises for the obvious distress this has caused you."

Until now, the abortion pill has only been given in hospitals but family planning clinics and GPs were recently given the go ahead to use them.

Women may even be allowed to take the drug alone at home.

But Nicola fears a lack of medical support could leave some women traumatised.

She said: "Women need more counselling before abortions, not less.

"I will never get over what happened to me."

  Oct 8 2002, Lisa Adams, Scottish Daily Record

Return to

Return to Christian Gallery News Service