"Upset my maternity care - pre eclampcia"

About: William Harvey Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

I was admitted to hospital after visiting my doctor who confirmed that my blood pressure had risen dramatically and protein was visible in my waters. My fiancé and I then made our way to the hospital where I was admitted after the midwife on duty confirmed I had +4 protein in my waters and my blood pressure had risen to 178 over 122. I was then confirmed that I had pre-eclampsia and I had to be closely monitored and was told that I wouldn’t be discharged until my baby was born.

During my stay I must stress I received exceptional care from the midwives’ and nursing team, however the reason for this complaint is due to the care from my consultant and my consultant's team.

On numerous occasions the midwives called on my consultant as they were concerned about my health as it was deteriorating dramatically. (I was completely swollen from head to toe with water retention to the point I could barely move, tightening in the chest, headaches and dizziness).

The consultant or one of the doctors came and saw me and asked if I was a smoker which I confirmed I was not, and said that the tightening of the chest was due to a cold. Every time I mentioned to the midwives how bad I was feeling they called on my consultant who kept telling me it was a cold I had and the tightening of the chest was not pre-eclampsia.

I was 35 weeks pregnant and I was also told that they wanted to keep me pregnant until I became 36 weeks as they were concerned that my baby would need to go into special care if I was to have her before 36 weeks and also told me that there was no more room in special care for babies at that time. (I felt they were not interested in me and my health.) A few days later, in the early hours, I broke down to one of the midwives as I became quite scared as I was struggling to breath, I knew something was not right.

That morning the midwife on duty called on my consultant and one of the team came and visited me again, and again said they felt the tightening of the chest was a cold. (I did not have a cold!) and again they stressed to me that they needed me to go to 36 weeks before they did anything. During that day I got worse and worse to the point my fiancé complained and said that something was seriously wrong and something needed to be done. The decision was then made that they were going to transfer me to QEQM, Margate hospital, it was then decided not to due to my physical health.

During this time there was a changeover of midwives and this particular midwife came to see me and was shocked that I had just been left. She said that she would get me dealt with as she was extremely concerned. (Unfortunately I did not manage to catch her name but if you could find out who she was, please send my thanks).

Within 5 minutes, I had 5 members of staff assist me; I was put on 100% oxygen and moved straight down to labour ward. My stats were down to 84 and the staff were concerned for both myself and my baby. I was then told that I was going to be put out while they did the emergency c-section. However as I was being prepared for this and signed the necessary paperwork, the anethesist came to see me and was concerned, due to the lack of oxygen in my blood, I may not make it by being put completely out. The decision was then made to give me a spinal block.

The staff that were dealing with me at the time were prompt and professional. After I had had my baby, early hours of the next day. My original consultant and a colleauge came to see me and they tried to justify the reasons why they did not act. (As you can appreciate I was less than impressed and was not interested in what they had to say).

I was later moved back up to the ward where the midwives were very supportive after what I had been through. I was then told my health was not stable and I was unable to go home. Again the decision of this was left down to the consultant and team. After the neglect I was giving by that team, the last person I wanted to deal with was them. I was eventually discharged the week after.

Since I have been home, I have struggled emotionally and still find my whole experience very distressing. There was a case on the news in January where a mother gave birth to a baby boy and later died. I know how much my life was at risk and it sickens me that my daughter could have grown up without her mother.

The whole experience has affected me in a number of ways and I feel this is down to the way I was just dismissed as if I was just a little girl that didn’t know what she was talking about. I also feel if I was older and married I would have been treated with a bit more respect which I find absolutely disgusting.

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