"Care for our newborn son"

About: Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital / Medical Paediatrics (Children's Medicine)

(as a parent/guardian),

My baby was sent to hospital at five days old due to losing just too much weight from birth. This was due to my breasts being too engorged for his poor little mouth to be able to feed properly.  It was discussed with midwife to express and feed, however the hospital would want to see him due to protocol-no problem.

So we went in, and they agreed with the feeding agreement. The registrar, who was lovely, said they would keep him in, as his sodium levels were a tad high, but we would be home the next day as long as they fell.

Upon arriving, we were put into a disused ward which was the dump for broken beds, and left. A couple of doctors came to examine him. One took heel prick bloods, twice as the first was not enough, and the other who weighed and measured him and allowed him to pee on his umbilical stump.

However the next day another doctor examined him, and while doing so noticed the umbilical stump smelled a bit. This is expected with necrotising tissue as far as I'm aware, and I explained a colleague of hers had let him pee on it. Well all hell broke loose. She took swabs which apparently showed growth (again I'd expect that with dead tissue) and wished to start him on antibiotics which they fitted a canula for. The canula was fitted and blood was taken, for the doctor (another from the morning rounds) to then say it was no use for the antibiotics and he had to fit another one. My poor boy was beside himself at this stage, never mind me.

A doctor then appeared in our room to say they had to carry out a lumbar puncture then disappeared. Well my husband and I fell apart. What made them think he had meningitis, he had no symptoms, it hadn't been mentioned until now. So they took him for that, which I could not face so his dad went with him. I am informed that this procedure was attempted twice as the doctor missed the first time. His hand was shaking throughout the procedure, and my husband was not allowed to be near our son to try and help comfort him during it.

Anyway, turns out they did not think he had meningitis, this is a routine test done on all babies who come in on the off chance an infection may have spread. Now we have since researched and every meningitis strain can be detected in blood tests, and guidelines are for lumbar punctures to be a last resort due to the invasiveness of the procedure. I might add that no one had written permission to carry this out, as would be required of an adult.

So we then spent 6 days in hospital, being given no information by any of the ridiculous amount of doctors we saw. We had to put our son on formula as I was receiving very little sometimes no water, and in the whole week received enough food for a day and a half at home, yet they support breastfeeding mums!

My son became quite bad at throwing milk up after a feed, new to us as he had not been on formula. I worried this may be due to the antibiotics etc so asked advice from a nurse, to be given no assistance to alleviate my worry, only to then overhear her complaining about us worrying and daring to ask questions pertaining to the welfare of our son.

The antibiotics would be administered which would wake our baby up, and they hurt and scared him, for him to be left screaming by the staff. On the few occasions my husband and I left the ward, we would return to a screaming baby, who hadn't been looked at, yet the information I have read and re read states a newborn baby should be attended to within 30 seconds of starting. I have rambled enough and still not covered everything.

Quite frankly, I feel they carried out procedures on my baby, for no reason. The worst was that him being so young, we did not even know him well enough to be able to comfort him during all these nasty unnecessary procedures. I felt far from supported as a breastfeeding mother, which I may add never came back enough that I could feed my son and he is now formula fed due to this.

We were told twice during the stay that we weren't to have him out of his cot. Someone trying to tell me I can't cuddle my son?! I think not! So much for bonding as much as possible, and skin to skin etc required to assist breastfeeding.

No one in his week in hospital thought to check his tongue, considering he was in for weight loss/feeding issues. Upon our return home our doctor noticed he was tongue tied, which was not too bad but improved feeding instantly. However it was too late by then, I was not producing enough milk and my supply would not increase quickly enough to support him, hence his now having to be fed formula at cost to us.

Our experience of this hospital was a shambles I won't take my son, or any other children I may have, back there. He will be taken to Ninewells even further afield if need be, but NEVER back there. I sincerely hope their attitudes change, and that no one else has to go through the nightmare we had to with our first baby. Thankfully we did get out and home, and have managed to bond extremely well despite what has happened.

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Responses

Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear new mum

Your story is very distressing. I cannot imagine how you must have felt or the worry you must have had. No words will make your experience or that of your son better but I hope you will accept our apologies for the difficulties you encountered.

NHS Grampian is focussed on listening to the experiences of our patients to help us improve care and services. We must use your story for this purpose. It would greatly assist us to investigate your experience and identify where change needs to happen if you were able to share more detail with us about what happened and why. If you would feel able to help us in this way you can do so by contacting me directly by telephone on 01343 5567900 or by email at loldroyd@nhs.net

Of course we completely understand if you choose not to contact us and this being the case please be assured that we will do all we can to thoroughly investigate what happened.

In either case, whether you feel able to get in touch or not, the service will investigate what happened and post a response to your concerns as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I am very glad to hear that despite everything you have a great bond with your son.

Please accept our apologies again and continue to enjoy being a mum.

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Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear new mum

Many thanks for getting in touch. As discussed we will arrange for you to come in and speak with our staff to go over your concerns.

Kind regards

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Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear new mum

Please accept my apologies for the delay in arranging a meeting for you. I know the service is working on a date when the relevant staff will be available. I hope to be in a position to offer you a date for a meeting very soon.

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Response from Linda Oldroyd, Nurse Consultant Patient Safety and Experience, NHS Grampian

Dear new mum

Many apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I have sent you an email indicating dates and times when the Nurse Manager and Consultant Paediatrician are available to meet with you. I hope one of the options is suitable for you. If not please do not hesitate to get back to me.

Kind regards,

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