"Illness of pregnant daughter"

About: Russells Hall Hospital / Maternity

(as a relative),

My daughter had severely high temperatures with sweating and then very cold temperatures with shivering, severe lower back ache to the point of crying with the pain and rocking from side to side to try and ease it.

I called an ambulance and she was taken to A & E at Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, West Midlands at around 7.40 am on a Tuesday. The day before our GP had visited, tested her urine and said it was not showing any infection but he wanted a sample to send off to hospital. If she got any worse during that day we should call him. She got worse during the night, hence the ambulance next morning.

On arrival she went into a cubicle and some 30 minutes later after going and getting a nurse, a doctor came in and asked for a urine sample. A canular was put into her arm at the bend by the elbow which was really uncomfortable and only a child’s one was inserted as my daughter has a phobia about needles. Anyway, about an hour later her urine was tested and found to have an infection, by this time she was crying again with pain. At around 11.30 she was told she would be taken to the Maternity Triage. She was told she was dehydrated and possibly had a kidney infection. On Triage she had the usual b.p and temperature taken. I asked for some pain relief for her. An hour later I went to see where the pain relief was and found a doctor leaning back on their chair playing with their mobile phone, two other members of staff at the same station talking about someone's holiday booking and a third staff member listening to them. I asked where my daughter's pain relief was and was told she must expect to be in pain when in labour. I told them she was 7 months pregnant with a suspected kidney infection and no-one had been to see her.

She was offered 2 paracetamol at which point I asked for the head midwife. She came and offered a stronger painkiller. By this time my husband had arrived and stayed with our daughter whilst I went home to take a shower and change. He asked for a water jug saying our daughter was dehydrated. No jug could be found and after 20 minutes he asked for a cup and would fill it up himself. The next patient to be brought into the ward some 30 minutes later, was immediately given a water jug.

My daughter was then given a rehydration drip by a junior staff member who also wanted to take blood and made a right mess of my daughter’s hand as they dropped the weight of the needle whilst doing the procedure.

My daughter had not seen a doctor and by this time it was 5pm. She had not been given anything to eat although a nurse said she should try to eat for the baby’s sake. Later that night she was moved to a room on her own and her boyfriend stayed with her until 9pm. Still no doctor had been to see her and she was still suffering severe pain, sweats and chills which went on all night and into the next day. I visited, complained bitterly but got nowhere. At 10pm that night she phoned me crying and very stressed and worried. Although the baby was fine and had been continually monitored, nothing had been done for her. I told her to see the head midwife and what to say and that I would come back up if she got no reassurance. She was moved to another ward at around 11.00pm and was told that they were only interested in producing the babies and could not cater for the illness of the mother to be!

Moving her along to another ward she found an absolute world of difference right from the start. Her notes were read, a midwife sat with her, pain relief was given and a doctor called. She was soothed and started to de-stress although still in pain. Blood samples were taken the next morning and a surgeon came to visit her. She was dangerously ill, her blood platelets had fallen to 48 and it was suspected she had HELLP Syndrome. She was told a cesarian would be done at teatime. The surgeon contacted a professor in Birmingham concerning her blood and cultures were done to try and pinpoint the virus. Her platelets fell to 44 and everyone started to rush around and she was told she had 15 minutes to prepare for an operation she may not come out of. Can you imagine all this happening? Can you imagine what she was going through? In my opinion this could have been avoided if it had not been for the lack of care shown by those midwives and nurses who treated my daughter in the Triage department for over 24 hours.

Just before going to theatre the professor phoned to say they had found the virus and it was Glandular Fever, together with a bad bladder infection and that with the right treatment to be specially formulated, her platelets would rise. The nurses and midwife and surgeon on that ward were tremendous, we couldn’t thank them enough. After 5 days she was looking to be ok. She is being monitored now and baby is due in 5 weeks time. I believe the staff on duty in Maternity Triage that week nearly lost me my daughter because they were slow to treat her as she was not in labour. Really bad, really bad.

They were ok to stand around talking. The doctor who looked to be playing on their mobile just astounded me and then one nurse tried tell me they had all been very busy for the whole shift. After this experience we are not really looking forward to going back in when its time for the baby to be born in case we end up there again.

My daughter in law had a very similar experience in July 2010 with the same department and she and a few other patients wrote in to complain. It seems to me that nothing has been done.

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Response from The Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

We are very sorry that your daughter did not have the experience you, and indeed we, would expect during her stay in hospital. This is unacceptable and we would like to look into this further.

Please contact our Patient and Advice Liaison Service (PALS) on free phone number 0800 073 0510 for them to investigate.