"My husband had to monitor me before my caesarean"

About: Southmead Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

I was admitted to hospital with pre-eclampsia on a Wednesday in November 2007. I was due to have a c-section on that Friday, due to my baby being too big for me to give birth naturally.

The standard of care from Wednesday through to Thursday evening was mediocre. I didn't see many nurses and I was waiting until the Thursday evening to be moved to my ward, where I was due to have care until it was time for the c-section.

My story of failure really starts around 6am on that Friday morning. This was the staff change over time. I had already been put on a sliding insulin drip due to my diabetes. I was supposed to be checked every 15 minutes to make sure that my insulin drip was not making my blood sugar levels drop to below 4.2. At 9am, my husband arrived and as there was a clear lack of nursing staff, he started checking my sugar levels by my own tester every 15 minutes. At around 10:30, he noticed my sugar had got to 4.2 and notified the midwife in the staff room. He was told someone would come to turn the drip off for a while as soon as they could.

By 11, my husband was beginning to get concerned as my blood was now down to 3.8. I was starting to suffer from effects of a hypo. He went to the staff room again and said it was now quite urgent. Again they said, someone would be in to check in five minutes. My mother arrived at 11:30. By that time my blood sugar was now down to 2.4. I was delirious and had no idea what was going on. I was close to a diabetic coma.

My mother marched down to the staff room and physically dragged a nurse to see me. My mother said that I was at risk of a coma and the nurse was shocked that I had been allowed to be so neglected. She immediately called the theatre, who were due to perform my c-section, who then rushed me to theatre where I could be looked after by more competent staff. My c-section was performed just ten minutes later. I was still at this time shaking due to the hypo I had suffered.

What should have been a joyous occasion has left me with no faith in midwifery services at the unit in Southmead Hospital in Bristol. If I get pregnant again, I will have money saved to go private.

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