"Felt completely ignored"

About: The Princess Royal Maternity Unit / Maternity

(as the patient),

I was admitted to the labour ward in the early hours recently. All seemed to be progressing normally and I had elected for an epidural. I was apprehensive about this birth as the birth of my first child was traumatic; as she was a forceps delivery after becoming distressed. So In my mind, an epidural for pain relief seemed the better option. My first epidural did not properly take effect so I was given a second epi/spinal combination which completely seemed to stop my contractions and unfortunately I had to go to theatre for another forceps delivery.

My baby was born just before 4pm, and all seemed to be ok. I was admitted to Ward 68 and due to the spinal and surgery I had a urinary catheter in place.

The next day (Sunday) I had my catheter removed and was asked to measure my urine output and drink plenty. I did this and was told I was retaining urine, so the catheter had to go back in overnight. On the Monday , the catheter was once again removed, I was told to drink plenty and measure my urine output and was told if I retained too much it would need to be put back in for 48hours. Later that day, I was scanned with a handheld scanner and an in/out catheter was used. I was told once again, that I was retaining too much urine and had to have the catheter back in for 24-48hours.

The catheter was put back in (this was now my third in total excluding the in/out) and I was kept over night again. On the Tuesday a doctor attended the bedside and told me they were removing the catheter again, and if I could urinate normally I would go home around 4 or 5 pm. Once again, the catheter was removed. The staff on duty brought me jugs and jugs of water (I believe from 11am-5pm I drank approximately 3 litres of water) and I was urinating plenty and frequently. It was indicated that I would be able to leave. My husband came to the hospital at 4pm to wait. I had my discharge talk, my papers were in order but we waited until 10. 30pm when another doctor came, who had been told by a 3rd doctor I had not seen, that I could not leave. The catheter had to be put back in.

This was outrageous to me, as I had been sitting since 11am expecting to get home, my husband had been waiting for 6 hours, I had already been in hospital for 4 days with no explanation as to why I had to be catheterised. When I asked the doctor what the reasons were, I was told simply I was retaining urine. There was no explanation as to what caused the problem or why. I was told repeatedly I was too young to have a permanent bladder issue and that if I checked out they couldn’t fix the problem.

I was upset, as was my husband. The midwife on duty (a wonderful lady who I cannot fault at all) came back with the doctor, my bladder was scanned, an indwelling catheter was put in. I was advised by the midwife that protocol was if I was retaining water the catheter stay in 24-48hours and if after that time period, I was still retaining water, the catheter would stay in for a week. This again upset me greatly mostly because I didn’t understand why and most importantly, why had the doctor taken the decision to remove the catheter if it needed to be in for at least a full 24 hours?

On the Wednesday, I was visited by yet another doctor whose name I cannot remember, but he tried to reassure me and tried to explain what was wrong but said that he was not a specialist and that he would be getting a uro-gynaecologist to contact me to arrange an appointment. He felt I should have gone home the day before, with the catheter and to come back to learn to self catheterise.

I was discharged on the Wednesday. I was meant to receive a call from the urologist on the Thursday. I did not. I called back to ward 68 and informed them. I then received a call from a uro-gynaecologist at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital who had a cancellation for the Friday morning.

I attended this appointment, had the indwelling catheter removed, was taught to self catheterise and a plan was put in place for bladder recovery. I was very emotional and spoke frankly with the urologist about the fiasco at the maternity hospital. I spoke about how much I had been drinking, the time limits placed on me to urinate and the doctor was adamant that I should have been advised to drink 2 litres in any day or a glass per hour would have been sufficient. So being brought jugs and jugs of water to drink was not in any way necessary or helpful. The water had to go somewhere and if I was having trouble urinating what was to be expected?

I have been advised that I will self catheterise for an indeterminate time.

My complaint really focuses on the following points:

• Why was I attended by several doctors all advising different things? Surely the treatment and care I received should have been consistent to ensure a quick recovery? The constant in/out of five catheters in a five day period was excessive.

• On the Tuesday, why did my husband and I have to wait until 10. 30pm to be told I could not go home? Why was there no clear explanation of my problem? Even when I asked what exactly was wrong I was told simply that sometimes the bladder goes in a wee huff! This is not acceptable!

• Why was I encouraged to drink far beyond the recommended amounts and expected to urinate as much as that in a time limit? Why was there a lack of knowledge about this in particular with certain members of staff?

• Why was I discharged without having seen a urologist before leaving the hospital? Surely it would have been ideal to have that all taken care of before leaving rather than being referred to another hospital?

• Why was protocol not followed regarding the initial 24-48hour catheterisation and again, not followed when I was told to keep it in for a week?

How can anyone confidently say that I received the best standard of care when certain protocols were not followed? How can anyone confidently say that the constant insertion and removal of catheters may have delayed my recovery, or the care I received may have adversely affected the condition? With doctors were over-ruling each other and not communicating (clearly there was a lack of communication or I would have been left alone a bit longer? )? And when I and my husband were left sitting for 6 and a half hours before being told I had to stay in the hospital.

On returning home from the hospital, I cried for three days. This experience has completely ruined this experience for me. I cannot enjoy my newborn baby as I have to constantly measure my urine and catheterise four times a day. My community midwife was very supportive as was my health visitor but it is a bit late when clearly I needed that support and care in the ward from senior staff members. I actually do not want to have another child or add to my family anymore because of this experience.

It is unfathomable that I could have two traumatic birth experiences in the same hospital but there we are. It happened and someone needs to take responsibility for these recent events. I felt completely ignored, I feel the buck was passed, I was told frequently how short staffed the ward was but also had no information regarding the problems I was experiencing.

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Responses

Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear harleyquinn1985,

First of all, congratulations on the birth of your new baby. I am really sorry that this has however been such an upsetting experience for you, at a time when you should be concentrating on welcoming the new addition to your family.

You have raised a number of issues which it is really important we look into – I would really appreciate if you could help us to do that by getting in touch with a few of your personal details. My email address is lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk. I have already highlighted your story to the Manager of this service, as well as the Chief Midwife, both of whom are keen to hear from you and help to look into this further.

I hope to hear from you soon,

Best Wishes,

Lorna

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Update posted by harleyquinn1985 (the patient)

HI Lorna

Thank you for your response. I have emailed you on the address you posted.

Thank you