"I did not feel I received one ounce of kindness, gentleness or understanding"

About: Maternity care / Labour Suite

(as a service user),

I gave birth in 2022. After a long long labour it was decided a c section was required due to my baby not coming down the birth canal. 

My experience in theatre within Ninewells labour suite has left me with severe birth trauma. I was having intense contractions, had been in labour for over 24 hours, and had never given birth before. I've never felt so degraded in my entire life.

One thing that stands out to me is me begging for the gas and air and the theatre nurse telling me to stop and sit down while I was in the midst of a contraction. Another, is when I was lying on the table fully naked from the waist down and a nurse started to shave my pubic area without asking for consent, telling me what they were doing, or even introducing theirself. The health care workers within theatre were all laughing and chatting about what they'd had for breakfast while I was going through the most traumatic thing I've ever experienced. 

The consultant or surgeon did not introduce theirself to me the entire time. The only thing they said to me was that my baby was big. I quite literally felt like a piece of meat on the table.

My midwives were amazing and I really enjoyed my labour but my experience and treatment in theatre alone has left me with life long trauma to the point I never want to have babies again.

I did not feel I received one ounce of kindness, gentleness or understanding while in theatre and now have to live the rest of my life with this.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Lee-Anne Abel, NHS Tayside 2 weeks ago
We are preparing to make a change
Lee-Anne Abel
NHS Tayside
Submitted on 28/06/2024 at 09:41
Published on Care Opinion at 09:46

Dear 19981998

Thank you for taking time to share your story via care opinion.

I am so sorry to read your experience of birth in theatre was so challenging and would like to apologise for the impact this has had for you both at the time and after.

Your story has been shared with our theatre and obstetric colleagues for consideration and reflection.

I would like to reassure you that there are plans within NHS Tayside for a short life working group to be established to discuss women’s experiences in theatre and how we can promote dignity, respect and person centred care for every woman irrespective of place of birth. Your story will be a powerful narrative that can be used to help the team understand how that theatre experience can feel for women and how important simple things such as introducing oneself is a really important step in care delivery. As part of this your other points around consent and access to analgesia will be considered. This group will have representation from all staff groups working within the theatre setting to ensure there is understanding across all disciplines and staff groups.

I appreciate this will not change your experience but I would like to thank you for sharing your story so we can use your voice to improve things for other women accessing the theatre setting during their birth journey.

I am grateful that despite your experience you have found the kindness to praise the midwifery teams who provided care to you during labour and please know this is appreciated. Thank you.

Women’s' voices are so valuable in helping us understand how care delivery is experienced in reality and this is fundamental to helping us improve and shape our services as we move forward.

Warm Regards

Lee-Anne Abel, Senior Midwife

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Response from Jenny Gray, NHS Tayside last week
Jenny Gray
NHS Tayside
Submitted on 09/07/2024 at 10:02
Published on Care Opinion at 11:06

Dear 19981998

I am sorry your treatment within our obstetric theatre was not as you wished it to be and fell short of basic standards. I have spoken with the team to share the points you have raised. We have been working hard with our midwifery colleagues to improve the patient experience and have already implemented some positive steps. As Lee-Anne states we are also coming together in a short life working group which will further address the points raised. I apologize for the upset and hope these steps reassure you your points have been heard and acted upon.

Best wishes

Jennifer Gray Senior Charge Nurse Maternity/Gynaecology Theatres.

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