Shannon Blennerhassett nearly lost her life after a an operation and now she can't have any more children. Shannon and her son Harry Gilbert, 10 weeks.
Shannon Blennerhassett nearly lost her life after a an operation and now she can't have any more children. Shannon and her son Harry Gilbert, 10 weeks. John McCutcheon

Mum almost bleeds to death 48 hours after botched procedure

CORRIE Gilbert felt powerless as the mother of his baby son was rushed to theatre at 2am, "bleeding to death" after a Mirena contraceptive device was incorrectly fitted.

"When I got that call and was told I only had a few minutes to talk to her, I thought I was going to lose her," he said.

"The doctors told me it was critical and that she'd be taken to ICU after the operation, and that hit me really hard."

Mr Gilbert and his partner Shannon Hubbard chose the Mirena to give themselves five years to decide whether they would have another baby after Ms Hubbard gave birth to Harrison eight weeks ago.

Ms Hubbard is now urging women to be more informed about their bodies and to ask questions about the position of their uterus before having a Mirena device implanted.

"I don't know whether the GP checked the positioning of my uterus, but either way she got it wrong," Ms Hubbard, who lives on the Sunshine Coast, said.

"I have a retroverted uterus which means it's tilted, and I've now found so many stories of other women with the same condition, so it's not a rare thing."

 

Shannon Blennerhassett nearly lost her life after a an operation and now she can't have any more children.
Shannon Blennerhassett nearly lost her life after a an operation and now she can't have any more children. John McCutcheon

Ms Hubbard knew something was wrong when she started bleeding heavily.

"I went to emergency, and by the time they got me to a bed I had bled through the maternity pad, my pants, and the wheelchair seat was covered in blood."

The Mirena was removed but before she had time to recover, Ms Hubbard was suffering haemorrhagic shock.

"I went really cold, I remember being freezing and physically shaking because so much blood had left my body, and that's the moment that was most traumatic," she said.

"I was worried my eight-week-old baby wouldn't remember me if I died."

The first two surgeries were to insert balloon catheters with the aim of putting pressure on the tear to stop the bleeding, but when they both failed, they had to cut her open. "In an ultrasound they thought it may have been a small tear of just a few millimetres, but during the third surgery they found a large haematoma and a four centimetre tear," she said.

Not only did Ms Hubbard have to battle for her life, she also experienced complications with the numerous blood transfusions she was receiving.

She will never have children again.

"I feel so lucky to be here, that's the overall feeling, but I want to let other women know what can happen," she said.

"Not to scare them, but I want people to go to a gynaecologist instead of a GP and talk to their doctor's about the position of their uterus.

Ms Hubbard was finally released on Saturday.

Australian Medical Association Queensland President Bill Boyd was not in a position to comment about the specific case but said while every method of contraception had some degree of risk, the range of options available in Australia were felt to be very safe.



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