"Helping me to keep breastfeeding whilst treating a serious illness"

About: Tameside General Hospital / General surgery Tameside General Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I was admitted to Tameside hospital when I presented with acute pancreatitis in May. I had given birth in March and was breastfeeding. The experience I had at Tameside hospital could have been much more distressing if it hadn't been for some key members for staff.

After spending half a day on an interim ward having been given some morphine I was taken up to the surgical unit where doctors there swiftly put me on a series of IV's to control the pain.

Whilst I was very ill my major concern was my 9 week old baby daughter, being separated from her, and the fact I was unable to breastfeed her. Staff enabled me to express in privacy by moving me to a private room. A student doctor was wonderful, she knew the lactation consultant from the maternity ward could come and visit me. This was arranged and the brilliant consultant reviewed all my medication to advise the ward doctors which drugs I could take and breastfeed with safely. As a result I was taken off morphine and prescribed Tramadol. She also made all the unit staff aware that my daughter was ok to come in, outside visiting hours, so she could continue to feed and help me maintain my supply. I was also supplied some sterifeed bottles to store milk in to send home. She would have been able to stay in the room with me but I felt unsafe to have her there full time due to the medication and IV's.

I was in for a week and the doctors got the pancreatitis under control. The student doctor in particular worked hard to find an appointment for me to have my gall bladder removed as soon as possible to minimise further disruption for my daughter and I. I'm really grateful to her, the lactation consultant and the brilliant ward doctors and nurses. The staff probably saved my life whilst balancing the importance of nurturing my daughter.

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Response from John Goodenough, Director of Nursing, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Many thanks for your positive comments about the care you received whilst an inpatient at Tameside Hospital. I will ensure that the staff involved are made aware of your compliments.

We are always striving to improve and breastfeeding remains a priority for us a Trust. We are delighted that you received the correct advice and support to ensure you continued to breastfeed during your illness.

May we thank you for taking the time to write to us and I wish you well for the future

John Goodenough

Director of Nursing

Would you like to help the hospital to improve its services further? We are currently looking for patients and carers to become involved in a development called “Patient Stories”. We want to know more about our services from the point of view of those who received them – what was good, bad, what could be improved, what should be changed. Want to know more about what’s involved? Please contact John Goodenough, Director of Nursing at john.goodenough@tgh.nhs.uk

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