Saturday, December 27, 2008

NHS hospital apologises after baby was born on floor

A pregnant woman was left unattended for hours and had to give birth on a hospital floor despite her desperate appeals for a bed. Health board officials have apologised to Lynne Neilson, 36, whose baby started to arrive as she stood, still clothed, in a cold assessment room after hours of waiting to be admitted to the labour ward. As the head appeared, a midwife ran in just in time to put a paper mat on the floor and catch the baby, who had the umbilical cord around her neck.

Mrs Neilson and her husband, Gavin, made an official complaint to the hospital and to Nicola Sturgeon, the Health Minister, after the incident at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. NHS Lothian announced on Christmas Eve that it had begun an investigation and had apologised.

The couple had arrived at the Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion early on December 5, but went home when the labour slowed. They returned at 7pm and were told to sit in the waiting room. Contractions quickened and Mr Neilson asked repeatedly for help until his wife, in pain and barely able to walk, was finally moved to an assessment room and examined by a midwife. Mrs Neilson said: “She said she’d come back in 20 minutes and that’s when it all really went wrong, because she didn’t come back. She was seeing other patients.”

Two and a half hours after they had arrived, their baby, Orla, was born. Mrs Neilson said: “The room we were in was cold. There was a narrow trolley – not a bed – which I couldn’t get up on to. I was shouting out – it was so undignified, because everybody in the waiting room would have been able to hear us. I felt a huge pressure and at that point I knew that the baby was going to be born.” A midwife arrived just in time to find Orla’s head emerging. Mrs Neilson said: “She took control and put down a disposable mat on the floor. She caught the baby – I was standing up and she was born on to the floor. I was very relieved that the midwife had come, because we were panicking.”

After the birth, Mrs Neilson was helped on to the trolley, but the family waited another hour before being transferred upstairs to a labour ward. They said they were told that the room they were placed in had been vacant throughout Mrs Neilson’s labour.

The couple have three older children, who were born in Glasgow, Hong Kong and at Edinburgh Royal, but said that this was the worst experience they have had in a maternity unit. David Farquharson, clinical director of women’s services in NHS Lothian, said: “This is not the experience we would want any mother or family to have.”


1 comment:

NVCD said...

Hi, I can attest to the terrors of socialized medicine. When I was a small child, I lived in London. My sister was born there. My mother was released from the hospital six hours after she was born, because her room was needed. When I was younger, I had terrible ear infections because I needed tubes. I went 80% deaf because the GP would not sign off to allow me to recieve some (it was not "necessary"). It was not until a private specialist signed off that I recieved the care I needed. The specialist also had to remove my tonsils because, as he said, I was "completely rotten in side". My little sister required stitches. She was little more than a year old, and yet the doctors refused to give her anaesthesia because it was not "necessary".
The problem with socialized medicine is that the government cuts costs in "unnecessary" areas. Eventually it will begin cutting costs in the medical area. Soon people won't be recieving certain drugs or treatments because they are too costly ("aren't necessary"). Medicine isn't building roads, or the postal system. It is a ministry. Costs cannot be cut in medicine without hurting somebody.
In the end, socialized medicine comes down to one simple question: Cost or quality? In other words: Free of cost or your life?
As a side note: socialized medicine isn't even free. You pay for it with your taxes. So if you're going to pay anyway, why not get good care?