"Postnatal ward was the worst 2 days of my life"

About: St Thomas' Hospital (London)

Following good antenatal care for the most part - particularly the premature clinic - I gave birth to my son in the birth centre by emergency cesarean. I was under the care of caseload midwives who were completely wonderful for his birth. Having said that it was a fairly traumatic experience for both my baby and I as he was in distress. This was compounded by what were the 2 worst days of my life on the postnatal ward. The ward itself was boiling hot, made worse by being in a bed by the window where the blind was missing thereby allowing the sun to heat up the room. And of course meaning no privacy from the building opposite. The doctors (who sat in cooler rooms) commiserated and apologised but nobody seemed to care enough to do anything about it. Then there was the care or rather total lack of care. I literally received NO care. Despite being awake and on his feet for 42 hours my husband had to stay with me throughout the night in order to help look after our baby. What would have happened if he hadn't been able to hand me our baby? On our first night I was still unable to move from the epidural. On to pain relief - my operation was at 4.30pm. During the night I asked for more pain relief. I never got it. As I cannot take codeine I was just given paracetamol and ibuprofen at the 6am medicine round. I asked again for additional pain relief - as suggested by the doctor on their rounds. It took 12 hours and a change of midwife to finally get it - 11am to 11pm. The same doctor also said my dressing needed to be changed. I had to ask the midwife to do this a number of times. A few hours later they grumpily agreed and had to agree with the doctor it needed changing. Breastfeeding support was diabolical. I must have seen 10 or 12 different people, a number of whom took hold of my breast and tried to stuff into my son's mouth. On our final morning in hospital we attended the breastfeeding session where we were told this was all wrong. I spoke to the Specialist Midwife who to be fair tried to help but was unable to move me. We were then discharged at 9pm. I couldn't understand some of the recent NHS care scandals and how health care professionals could treat others with such little care. I understand now. I was definitely traumatised by my experience and am upset just writing here.

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Response from Beth Wilcox, Complaints Manager, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Anonymous, I am so sorry to hear about your poor experience on the postnatal ward after your emergency cesarean. You have raised a number of issues about the ward environment, the level of assistance you received with your new baby, pain relief, wound care and breastdfeeding support. If you would like us to look into what happened and provide a detailed response to your concerns we would be happy to do so. You can contact our complaints team on 020 7188 3514 or email me at beth.wilcox@gstt.nhs.uk.

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