"They did not take into account our individual circumstances"

About: The Royal Victoria Infirmary / Maternity care

(as the patient),

My experience of post natal care at the RVI is so terrible that I do not know where to start.

I was booked into the RVI for an elective c-section. I had lost one baby due to a genetic disease and my 2nd baby was diagnosed with the same. We did not know if our baby would survive. The post natal ward were given these details by foetal medicine: I was present when my details were handed over. Because of this I was told a side room would be put aside for me.

Despite the above; when I arrived on the morning they had no details and despite having empty side rooms, I was not put in one. I was naturally very anxious. I had to explain my circumstances in front of a ward full of new mums.

2 hours later a cot was put by my bed: I had to explain again to a different member of staff that my baby would be on intensive care and we would not need the cot. Again, I had to explain my story in front of a ward full of new mums. Again it appeared that my details had not been passed on. At this point I was crying hysterically. I had to explain yet again to a third member of staff later on in the morning. At this point I insisted on being taken somewhere private where I could provide details. It certainly seemed to me that there was very poor communication on the ward.

My baby was taken straight to intensive care after my c-section. I was desperate to see him but understood he was in the best hands. When his Consultant came to see me some 5 hours later, he told me and one of the nurses that I could be wheeled round to see him. After he left, one nurse told me it was not her job to take me to him. Another told me they did not have the staff. By this point I was hysterically crying and said I wanted to complain after I had seen my baby. I could hear numerous nurses chatting and laughing at the nurses station; gossiping about one of their colleagues. I did not therefore understand how they did not have the time to take me to see my baby.

Despite me simply being desperate to see my baby; I feel the Matron on the ward effectively bullied me into taking the time to fill in forms regarding my complaint. At this point I had still not been taken to see my poorly baby. I did not understand how she had the time to speak to me regarding a complaint, yet she did not have time to take me to see my baby.

On her taking details of the above events, I was told that I had upset one of her midwives. I was not abusive, aggressive or unreasonable towards any member of staff and I feel I was basically being made to feel guilty that I had complained. When I put this to the Matron, she did change her attitude slightly but asked me to understand that I was not the only one who was upset. I fail to see how a staff member was as upset as me; who had a poorly baby who I was unable to see.

They also tried to send my partner home as visiting was over. This was despite our home being over 50 miles away; despite the circumstances we were in and the fact that I was so vulnerable and despite the fact that he also, still had not seen our baby. The matron compared me to a lady opposite who had given birth to a healthy baby and I was told that if my partner stayed then they would have to allow everyone's to stay. They did not take into account our individual circumstances and I got the distinct impression that the ward was simply a production line of ladies who had had c-sections.

I had to ask that if they did not have the staff to take me to my baby and then they also sent my partner home; then who would ensure that I got to see our son.

She said I had not been put in a side room as it would be difficult for the staff to check on me, as they would have to go into an individual room rather than simply look into a ward and it would therefore take them longer to complete checks and observations. I was made to feel like an inconvenience and I felt that this excuse was plain ridiculous.

The matron admitted that foetal medicine had passed my details over but they had kept no record.

After my complaint, I felt that all staff members on the ward with the exception of 1 were very rude to me. I was told by numerous staff members that they knew I had complained and they were 'staying out of it'. The one lovely midwife on the ward told me she had heard what happened and that I was doing the right thing complaining.

As the days progressed my baby became more poorly and we sadly had to turn off the ventilator keeping him alive. The post natal staff were aware of this and I had asked them to arrange for a community midwife to visit me to remove my c-section stitches as I would no longer be at the hospital as we had lost our baby. The post natal staff failed to inform the community midwife what had happened; resulting in her visiting my home smiling and asking to see our baby who we had lost the day before, unbeknowns to her.

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