"Violated and left traumatized by midwife assault"

About: East Surrey Hospital

I went in to labour at ESH in May 2014. My contractions were coming regularly & I was in a lot of pain, so the midwife on the ward wanted to check how dilated I was. I had previously found internal examinations extremely painful & so I asked if they would 'go slowly', the midwife was very unpleasant & unsympathetic & said that 'I know it is uncomfortable but I need to do it' - I then maintained that it was very painful, not just uncomfortable & that I would need her to be extremely gentle with me. They began the examination which I found incredibly painful & after a few moments I asked them to stop as I couldn't handle the pain. They ignored my pleas and told me to 'just breathe through it'. I was on my back & completely helpless, as my baby was back to back, merely lying down was excruciating & I was in so much pain that I couldn't move her away. I then shouted for them to stop again - they refused a second time & told me again, 'to just breathe through it'. For a THIRD time, I screamed at them to stop, at which point I stopped breathing & had a panic/ anxiety attack. Both my Mother & my baby's father had to tell them to get off me & the midwife then said to me - 'I need you to breathe so that I can check that baby hasn't gone into distress'. I was finally able to breathe again after almost a minute of being without air from sheer panic. They then hooked me up to a monitor to check my baby was ok, which thankfully, she was. After that, my regular contractions slowed down & became erratic for a couple of hours due to the upset & stress they put me through. I was absolutely petrified of being examined by other hospital staff members & was difficult for all of the other midwives who needed to examine me & then stitch me up afterwards. The same midwife also refused me a second canister of gas & air because 'it was too expensive' - so I was without pain relief for over an hour until I went into the birthing pool area. Since this has happened, I have spent hours of my time following the proper channels at the hospital, complaining of my treatment by this midwife. The hospital refused statements by my Mum and my baby's father, saying that because there wasn't a hospital representative present at the birth there were no reliable witnesses. The hospital has consistently fobbed me off and it took over 6 months after the incident for the hospital to arrange a meeting, in which they said that there wasn't enough evidence to conclude the case. Once I again mentioned that there were two witnesses who saw what took place, they reopened the investigation, with the intention of coming back to me in December. It is now February and the outside body have closed the case because they hospital have ignored all requests for documentation, records and my original statement. I am absolutely disgusted and continue to feel mistreated. This incident has left me feeling violated and traumatized and I am upset that ESH refuses to be held accountable.

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Responses

Response from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Anonymous

Many thanks for taking the time to give us you feedback. As we discussed when we met we carried out a full review of your care when you originally raised your concerns with us and we have shared the results of this with you to ensure that you are fully aware.

We have valued the opportunity to have these discussions with you and wish you and your baby well. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me again at adaline.smith@sash.nhs.uk

Kind regards

Adaline Smith