"Labour Experience"

About: St George's Hospital (Tooting) / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I gave birth at St George's hospital in tooting. This was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life after 32 hours of what felt like having no one listening to me or respecting my opinion, I ended up having an emergency c section.

I was in labour at night and it was full of agency nurses who left me alone in a room that resembled a cupboard for 6 hours before offering me paracetamol or even a room to rest in. They then said my husband would have to go home and return in the morning to which I threatened to go home. By the morning I had been left alone in pain for so long I was in floods of tears and in a total panic. I was then ignored further until a senior member of staff came to see me for about 10 minutes reassuring me that everything would be fine and she would check on me- I never saw her again.

24 hours later and hardly dilated but in agony I was finally given an epidural. This eased the pain. I had no progression for hours my heart rate was extremely fast as I suffer from anxiety and their had been ongoing concerns with the blood flow to my baby. I requested a c section as I was becoming increasingly concerned with my babies heart rate. Low and behold I ended up having an emergency c section.

I have never felt so vulnerable scared and invisible in my life. I had numerous midwifes involved, non that I knew which made the process worse. After my baby was born I was placed in room after recovery that had a toilet out of bounds that doubled up as a medicine cabinet. So through out the night a midwife that I thought was rude and very bossy would walk in while we were trying to sleep and would turn the light on looking for medication which was exhausting as it happened every couple of hours.

Once again I found that the night was awful for me with uncaring nurses that didn't respond to my call for painkillers in the end my husband went out and bought me some. It appeared to me that the night staff could not be more unhelpful. In the morning I was walking around and wanted to get my recovery started I had to beg for 3 hours for a nurse to remove my catheter, she said she was busy with patients but I saw her at a desk in the hallway writing out notes for at least 2 hours. It seems that notes are more pressing then a patients comfort. Once the catheter was removed I felt light headed and exhausted and a nurse came in and marched me to the bathroom she then insisted I took my gown off I thought she was doing a check she then washed me down with cold water and tissue which was extremely degrading and embarrassing as I was completely naked with someone I hadn't even spoken to. I didn't even know what to say, I didn't even need to be washed.

I then returned to the room slightly out of it due to pain killers and told my husband what had just happened. So bizarre. Later on I was fed up of being left in this store room / hospital room. We were moved upstairs to a ward after much complaining. I was told all the private rooms were taken and would have to stay in the ward. The icing on the cake is when my family came to visit that day excited like most new grandparents I was told they could only come in two at a time as long as my husband left as he was classed in their eyes as a "visitor". They had security on the door which refused my family entry so I went to meet them all in the hall way after having a c section! I was greeted by bad looks from the nurses on duty. I didn't want to miss out on my parents meeting my baby with my husband. The security man made a fuss about us being in the hall way. At that point I was so fed up, hormonal, tired and appalled by entire experience I discharged myself 12 hours after giving birth. I found the nurses were extremely rude and unhelpful and it felt like they skipped the values and ethics section in their training. I would never return to this hospital as it was such an awful experience for me, I thought that the health care professionals had such little empathy and care and that the system operated in such a cold and uncaring manner. This is such a scary exciting and vulnerable time for a woman and my experience was completely ruined and has made me loose faith in the NHS.

The one thing that was good was The team that performed my C section.

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Response from St George's Hospital (Tooting)

We are very sorry to read of your traumatic experience, it is not what we expect for our patients. Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is available for you to feedback comments on the services you experienced. PALS would be able to feed back to the area your dissatisfaction in the service with the intention of improvements being made. More information would be required about you but in the meantime your comments will be sent to the department.

PALS is available on 020 8725 2453 or by email on pals@stgeorges.nhs.uk

If you get an answer machine when you telephone - please leave your telephone number clearly and you will be contacted.

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