"Bad hospital experience."

About: The Townsville Hospital / Emergency Department The Townsville Hospital / Maternity Unit The Townsville Hospital / Special Care Nursery The Townsville Hospital / Surgical Wards – 1, 2, 3

(as the patient),

I hate being one to complain but my experience at the Townsville Hospital has left me wondering what is going on in our public hospital system. I was admitted to Maternity Ward after the birth of my baby and this on its own was not a great experience but to be given such limited care and left to virtually look after myself and my baby, exhausted and sore was beyond my belief.

To make matters worse a week later I was admitted to ED with mastitis in pain trying to breastfeed in a public space with a screaming baby as it was a weekend and as you can imagine busy, but we were forced to go there as we have no private emergency in town. This to my horror with an alert on measles, whooping cough and a new born left in emergency waiting room is beyond what should be done in a situation like this when others with less problems are bleeding the system.

After several hours of being in ED still (not feeding on effected breast) and not feeling well at all I was then admitted to surgical for reasons to which I have no idea with my new born worn out and stressed. Thank goodness my midwife visited me from the Birth Centre to explain the importance of trying to feed on the infected breast. Given it was her day off she actually gave me support and advise to those in surgical ward of what should be done. After being in surgical ward for several hours I was then admitted to Maternity Ward. The care was not bad, however due to some misguidance was advised to not feed on left breast and given a pump that caused blisters the following day to make my situation far worse. Sadly the lactation nurse was too busy to attend to me on the day.

The following day I was beyond tired, had my mother come up to help with baby, wanted to shower, try to have something to eat, but as my cannula kept coming out, it was hard handling my baby and I was beyond upset. I just wanted to go home even if not feeling well. A referral was given to Hospital To The Home and my baby was still not able to feed on the effected breast. My cannula was changed as it had collapsed once again after me advising this always happens and suggested to save time and money for an anesthetist to come in as this is always the case with my veins. I looked like a pin cushion gone wrong making my situation far worse with feeding.

After being discharged, Hospital To The Home came for a visit later that afternoon only to find my cannula had collapsed. By this stage I'd had enough! Putting another one in wasn't worth the risk, or it was back up to ED. My care was then discontinued and given oral treatment - this takes longer to take effect than an IV drip.

Thankfully my midwife from the Birth Centre called the following morning checking in as Monday was her day off, she kindly called in to see how I was going and advised I go straight to the Birth Centre and see Vanessa to sort things out as I was distressed, upset, tired and ready to give up breastfeeding as I could not cope. That is where I was given confidence, fully supported and the right advice to get baby back on the breast and feeding. The milk would heal the blisters I had obtained during my stay in maternity.

All I can say is thank goodness for the Birth Centre as they were so wonderful and supportive.

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Responses

Response from Julie Shepherd, Nurse Manager Patient Experience, Patient Services; Clinical Governance Directorate, Townsvillle Hospital and Health Services

Dear Confident Mummy,

Thank you for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. I am sorry to read about your experience with our hospital services while you’re caring for your newborn baby and suffering from the pain and illness caused by mastitis. I understand it would have been an exhausting and upsetting time for you.

I am glad to hear that your contact with your midwife from the birth centre has resolved your immediate concerns. However we would like the opportunity to further discuss your experience and I encourage you to contact our staff in our Patient Liaison Service on 44331074. Once again, I am sorry that you have had this experience with our service and I would like you to know that hearing stories such as yours is actually really helpful in terms of highlighting where we need to improve.

I am really happy to learn however, that throughout your experience, your midwife and our Birth Centre provided you with support and advice to enable you to breastfeed your baby with confidence.

With kind regards

Julie Shepherd

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