"Traumatic labour, lack of respect"

About: The Princess Royal Hospital (Telford)

I was transferred to the women and children's centre in May because of slow progression of labour. The labour ward were informed I was on my way but when we arrived in the early hours of the morning there were no staff in the building either to meet me or tell me how to find the ward. The labour ward is a long way to walk from the entrance to the building, or it certainly is when you're having contractions! Why weren't there any staff available on the front desk to help me find a wheelchair? I was hooked up for foetal monitoring which I was told would take 20 minutes and was then left completely alone for 40 minutes, and even then a member of staff only arrived because I had used the call button. Being left alone without explanation or reassurance left me in a state of panic. It was also extremely painful to remain lying down during this time and I wasn't offered any pain relief. I was subjected to a vaginal examination by the consultant which was extremely traumatic, causing me to scream with pain in spite of the use of gas and air. The consultant didn’t address me personally or ask my permission to perform the procedure, they left this to the attending midwife. I felt a lack of respect for me as a person. I was told that dilation wasn't happening as expected, so although my contractions were strong and regular I would need a drip of syntocin to progress things. I still don't understand why this is common procedure as syntocin speeds up contractions and has no ability to improve dilation. In fact that's exactly what happened. Staff continued to increase my dose of sytocin, in spite of the fact that I expressed concerns, until contractions were far too strong and caused me to start pushing involuntarily. I was told that the only way to slow things down was to have an epidural, something I specifically asked not to have. I was told the pace of labour was dangerous and forced to have the epidural. I was told a ventousse delivery was necessary and wasn’t given a choice in this decision. During labour upwards of 10 members of staff were present, more wandered in and out of the room without respect to me or my privacy. I felt stressed and humiliated by presence of so many people. Staff seemed completely unaware of my need for respect, privacy or a sense of control. They also seemed not to know that these factors would be detrimental to the natural progression of labour. Ultimately the interventions in my labour were unnecessary. My baby was not in distress, my blood pressure was only high because of the poor quality of care that lead me to feel stressed. The only treatment I received at Telford which was useful was the insertion of a fluid drip to treat my dehydration. I consider myself very lucky to have avoided an unnecessary caesarean. I hope I don’t have to return to the Princess Royal for treatment in future, I will advise friends and family to avoid giving birth there.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from The Princess Royal Hospital

I am really sorry to hear about your experience in the labour ward at the Princess Royal Hospital. Unfortunately the NHS Choices website does not share your contact details with us or provide a way for us to contact you direct. I would, therefore, encourage you to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). PALS aims to provide advice and support for all of our patients. They can be contacted on 01952 282888, by email at pals@sath.nhs.uk, you can visit them in person in their office in the main reception area in the Princess Royal Hospital or you can find out more from our website at http://www.sath.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/pals/default.aspx Please accept my apologies for the experience you have had and thank you for sharing your feedback. Di Davis Patient Advice and Liaison Service

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