"Care at Airedale hospital - labour and delivery"

About: Airedale General Hospital / Maternity

(as the patient),

Firstly, I feel that the staff who cared for me at Airedale Hospital are not competent. Secondly, the complaints procedure should come with a health warning!

I had my first child in 2009 and had a horrendous experience that I would not wish upon my worse enemy. So much so that I refused to go back for the birth of my other children. As being a young mother to be, I was absolutely petrified of labour and giving birth but I knew that it's what women do and have done for centuries so I would cope.

I went in for induction 11 days after my due date, as my baby just didn't want to show. When I arrived there were two other women on the ward, one that had just had a little girl but she had been brought back on to the labour suite due to the maternity ward being full and one other lady. I presumed it was her first too as she looked as scared as what I did! Anyway, I had the pessary and waited and waited but nothing happened. At around 9pm a doctor came to see me and broke my waters with no explanation as to what she was doing. That hurt so much! Once she broke my waters, my contractions started coming quick and fast. I was in a lot of pain and not the most quiet one on the ward so the midwife organised an epidural for me (I think that was to shut me up).

Nothing was happening and at around 5am the midwife called the same doctor to come and have a look, they agreed to start the syntocinon and to see if that would help get my contractions going as they had come to a halt (the only time anything happened on the monitor was when the midwife got me to push). The midwife forgot to press the start button on the machine!

At around 7am, 8 doctors came swarming in the room and the main doctor said that my baby and I would die if she did not do a forceps delivery. At this point I was absolutely terrified. I refused the delivery based on how she came across to me, it was like she wanted to hurt me and my baby, the look in her eyes was terrifying and to this day it still haunts me. I agreed to let her do a ventouse delivery and she did not have a clue with what she was doing, the cup flung across the room 3 times! The baby did not come down due to inadequate use of the ventouse.

She continued to do a forceps delivery without consent and she pulled so many times and really hard so much so that when my baby was born, he had a cut on his head and a bruise by his eye, and he wasn't breathing. The couple of minutes it took to revive him felt like a life time. My son was in the wrong position, which she had mentioned previously hence the cut on his head. When she had finished the delivery another member of staff came in all excited because they wanted to do the stitching. I had a bad bleed and needed a blood transfusion.

I felt like they had taken everything away from me, my whole world had been turned upside down. I put a complaint into the trust and she left four weeks after, whether or not it was down to my complaint I am not sure.

Anyway once I got on to the maternity ward, the care went downhill. Some staff were rude, and spent a lot of time gossiping about other staff. I asked for pain relief and didn’t get any, I asked for help with breastfeeding and couldn’t get any help - I was told that I would have to bottle feed and they wouldn't bring me a bottle I had to go to the reception area and ask for one! They didn't check my stitches and I ended up with a bad infection. I eventually discharged myself as I could not bear being there any longer.

Once I got home, the midwife came to see me to check my son and myself and she noticed that I was in a lot of pain. She made me an emergency appointment where I found out that I had an infection that should have been picked up on whilst I was in hospital! I was on antibiotics for weeks and the episiotomy wound had opened up due to the infection.

I am undergoing treatment for post traumatic stress disorder and have had one operation on the scar to try and sort it out but need another as they operated on the wrong part.

When I put my complaint in with Airedale, all they could do was apologise, which they did. They did not answer any questions, they contradicted one another, I feel they put the blame on me. I have never felt so upset and angry at anything in my life and I will never forget how that have made me feel.

I have tried my best to shorten my experience but a lot more happened during the labour and delivery which I have tried to blank out as it is upsetting for me and my partner.

I wish that Airedale had helped and not dragged my complaint out for 18 months. My partner and I know what happened that day, and so do the midwife and the doctor but we haven’t been able to get an acceptance of the truth from the trust.

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Response from Karen Dunwoodie, Patient Experience Lead, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust

We are sorry that you and your partner had such an unsatisfactory experience when you accessed our maternity services and can assure you that we take any complaints about patient care very seriously. We will always take steps to listen to concerns so that they can be addressed and resolved wherever possible. It is deeply regrettable that you have not found this to be the case. Although you clearly remain unhappy with the resolution of this complaint, we want you to know that we regularly review the way we deal with all complaints, treatment, care and service so that we can learn and improve.

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