Just wanting some feedback on the letter I have written to our local hospital about was & wasn't done when we lost our son. *****warning bit of a read*****
My name is A*** W***. On the 18th September 2009 I gave birth to a premature baby boy, who didn’t survive, herein after referred to as J.
After being told on the 17th of September that J had passed away I was to be admitted to hospital to be induced the following day at 8am.
We arrived at the hospital on the 18th of September & shown to a private room (which I am grateful for), to wait for induction to begin. At 9am the first lot cervical tablets were inserted to start this process. My husband and I were then left on our own unless we needed something or the occasional observations to be done. At no stage was I given any information on what to expect. The only information at this stage was what drug they would be using to induce me.
I had to actually ask the midwife on duty what I could expect for the delivery & what J may look like, due to his chromosomal abnormalities. I wonder if this information would have been given if I had not of asked.
I delivered J on Friday the 18th of September around 730pm that night. I cannot complain about the attitude of the midwives that looked
after me during this visit. They were kind,caring & supportive. I was just severely disappointed that at no time did anyone offer us any advice as to “what to do next”. We weren’t offered counseling of any type. We were left to flounder away with how to deal with losing J on our own. At no time did any medical staff weigh or measure him. We are now, and always will be, left wondering what his weight and length
were. This negligence has also added to implications of us not being able to obtain a birth certificate for J as the legislation states a
birth certificate will be given to a baby of 20 weeks gestation or 400gm. We have photos, which we took of J that quite vividly shows he was a fully formed baby only extremely small.
Saturday the 19th of September I had to request my local parish priest to be contacted to bless my son. I think there should be a procedure that if you have a religion noted down that maybe someone should ask if it is something that we would like to be done.
Sunday the 20th of September saw me discharged. This was the hardest thing I had to do (leaving the hospital without J) I did not think my heart could break any further but this was proven wrong. There is a support group called TLC (Teddy Love Club), which sends out teddies to all hospitals willing to participate to give to bereaved parents in our situation. Even a small gesture like this can go a very long way. I am very happy to give you their details if you like.
Tuesday the 22nd of September saw me be readmitted to the hospital due to post partum hemorrhage retained placenta & infection. I was given a course of antibiotics over night & a curette booked for the following day
Wednesday the 23rd of September saw me have the curette done at 2pm. I did not wake fully from the general until almost 6pm. At that time I was still very groggy, dizzy & generally unwell. I managed to eat some dinner & go to the bathroom but being upright I felt like I was going to pass out. The midwife looking after me was not very sensitive & told me “it’s normally classed as day surgery” & “now that I was up & about I was to go home”. So I was discharged at around 830pm that night regardless of my fragile emotional & physical state (after another
midwife had said I wouldn’t be discharged if I wasn’t feeling up to leaving, which I wasn’t). I needed my husband & mother support me fully
to the car as I was feeling very weak & dizzy. How can a patient be discharged feeling like this?
Sunday the 4th of October saw me bleeding heavily again & in severe abdominal pain that I made another trip up to the emergency department arriving at around 10pm. I was seen to by the doctor in charge that night (who I am grateful to) as he made a call to the on call ob/gyno who informed him to get my pain under control & send me on my way. I guess it was later determined that I still had infection as I was given antibiotics. This doctor I will not say a bad word about as he was very caring & understanding. But what I do want to complain about in this instance is the 16hr wait I had in the emergency department before the ob/gynos decided to admit me for further treatment. Surely I warranted a visit earlier if the doctor in charge of the emergency department thought I warranted a consultation from them. When I was finally admitted to the hospital before leaving the ED I was told they had a private room ready for me, due to what we had been through. Once we arrived at the Family Unit I was put into a double room, which an older woman was admitted to a little later that afternoon. That I could handle, but with her was her daughter & her new granddaughter. Surely some for thought could have been put into that as I had only lost my son 2 weeks earlier. How would you feel if this were you, your wife or daughter? There were private rooms available so why not give someone who
is grieving a room for their own privacy?
We had contacted our Local MP at his office in the midst of all this happening during September last year in regards to having been given no
information or support group information. Within an hour of being on the phone to him I had received a phone call from the Patient liaison
officer who assured me that she would post some information brochures etc out to us. To this day we are still awaiting these brochures she had promised.
As having gone through this ordeal without any support, some decisions need to be suggested. First of all have someone on staff to start with
that can be on call if there is a stillbirth. I know that F is there but she was away (how can there be no back up). I suggest that counseling be given as a matter of course, as most parents are unable to make an informed decision while they are grieving. Should this have been offered to us then maybe it could have helped me avoid many months of depression. Another suggestion I would like to make is that the hospital staff should weigh, measure & dress/wrap the baby; take photos;
imprint foot and hand prints and if the parents don’t wish to take any of this with them these are to be left on file as parents may decide in
the future they do actually want some memories of their baby.
Both DH and myself are really hoping that you will be able to help us understand how we managed to fall through the cracks with this
situation and provide us with some answers to ensure this sort of situation will never happen to anyone else in the future.
Is there currently a procedure or policy in place for these sorts of situations? If so could you please provide to us a copy of this procedure/policy within 14 days of the above date?