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To complain about this midwife (long)

(115 Posts)
BootieAndTheBlowfish Fri 24-Mar-17 18:24:20

Baby is fine, I am now fine, (at least physically). Want to make that clear before I start. Also, I'm sorry for the length.

I was induced as I was two weeks overdue. Was given first prostaglandin in a maternity ward about 5pm and was on the CTG for monitoring. There were a few periods of fetal heartrate dips which they decided were temporary loss of contact. Doctor reviewed a few times and said all fine.

Shift change about 8pm. New MW comes and introduces herself. Will call her MW Y(oung) . At this stage I was starting to feel contractions but not too bad. I had been taken off the CTG monitor. There were other people in my ward who were being kept in for overnight monitoring before they went home in the morning.

Few hours later I was in a lot of pain, contractions coming thick and fast and when the MW Y wandered round the ward I/and DH told her there was only 2-3 minutes between them. I was also shaking uncontrollably and vomiting from the pain. My MW Y gave me about half a dozen new sick basins and said she'd come back in a bit and "sit with me for 10 minutes with her hand on my stomach to see what's going on". She came back into the ward a few times and kept saying she'd be back in a bit to sit with me, but never did.

About 1am, another much older MW saw me (as I gave her the sick basins and asked for more) and then gave me diamorphine and an anti-sickness injection, she also did an internal examination about 20 minutes later and said I was definitely in established labour now and was 2cm dilated. She (older MW) wrote on my notes that the diamorphine had had "very limited effect" (although I thought it had as although still very sore, I was no longer vomiting from the pain). DH was told he could probably go home, so he did.

Within 90 minutes of the injection I was back to shaking and vomiting at every contraction. I was passing out asleep after each one, waking up a minute later, vomiting through it, and falling asleep, waking a minute later, vomiting etc. This went on for another hour. When my MW Y would come in I'd tell her and get new sick basins. She kept saying she'd come and sit with me in a bit. She asked if I'd like a bath, but I was doubled over in pain, vomiting and shaking and thought there was no way I could get into a bath so I said I just couldn't.

I then started to bleed quite a lot. And it wasn't stopping, so at 3am I dragged myself out to the MW station and said to my MW Y who was at the desk that I was bleeding and the contractions were really strong. She said that's normal she'd come and see me in 5 minutes. 20 minutes later, no sign of her and still bleeding a constant stream of thick blood, so I went out to the desk and told her again she said she'd come an see me in a bit.

At this stage, older MW overheard me, told me she'd come with me and told my young MW to stay there and do her notes.

Older MW examined me, I was fully dilated.

Within a few minutes (at 4am) she'd run me down to the labour ward to a delivery room. I was then put on the CTG and baby was extremely distressed.

Room fills with doctors, baby's heartrate was dropping to 20 and not able to recover in between as the contractions were too long, too quick after each other and too strong for baby to cope with. I was in hypovolemic shock; vomited almost a litre of greeny black stuff and needed resuscitation fluids "stat" by the anaesthetist. They then said I needed a EMCS (crash, under GA), then 30 seconds later said it was too late for that and I had an emergency instrumental delivery instead. I had a large episiotomy and a major PPH. Baby was tightly tangled in the cord so they struggled getting DC out, and needed a lot of work by the paediatricians after birth to get breathing established. I needed a blood transfusion as my haemoglobin dropped to a life threatening level.

I requested my maternity notes (hence knowing all the above) and there aren't any notes from "my" MW (Y) in the ward, except her "made introductions" note at 8pm. That is her only note in 8 hours. Old MW has notes at 1am after examining me, then her notes when she rushed me downstairs. Nothing from MW Y between 8am and 1am, or 1am and 4am, despite the number of times I told her (MW Y) I was shaking/vomiting/in agony.

I am really upset about this (the labour generally, but especially the lack of notes). If something had gone really wrong, there was no record that I had been asking for help for a couple of hours previously. They'd have said they didn't know and I didn't tell them anything, and it wasn't their fault.

I am really struggling to come to terms with what happened. How close I came to losing DC, because of MW Y. Why she decided that DC and I didn't matter, and I wasn't worth checking on or examining. That she must have assumed I was lying/exaggerating about what was happening. That I had to do the whole "active labour" part completely alone, no pain relief, in a maternity ward with women who were not even in labour on the other side of the curtain, who were probably upset hearing me vomiting everywhere. It was so humiliating, and I was worried I was waking them or scaring them and trying not to make noise with the contractions. That I had to drag myself out to the desk, twice, and then it took the older MW overhearing me to get any help. I have never felt so alone in my whole life.

I want to know that she knows what happened, so she never dismisses someone in that position again. I just need to know she knows.

I can't have a debrief because it would be with the medical team, not a midwife, due to the type of birth (I've asked). It's the pre-birth care I'm annoyed about. I have no problem with anything the doctors did in the delivery room, they all did what they had to given the situation. It's clear from my notes they were quite 'WTF' about how I'd been landed on them fully dilated in that state. I'm so, thankful they saved us both (I've sent card and present). But I'm annoyed at the midwife.

Will she have been spoken to about it already, given what happened? Should I complain about her, (if so, to whom?) or let it go? DH says she would definitely know as older MW would have had to explain when she rushed me to the delivery suite and she wouldn't have taken the hit for her. I need to know she knows. I suppose she must?

MrsCobain Fri 24-Mar-17 18:28:56

I'm not sure about the complaining but I do think you need to see a therapist immediately. What you've been through could result in some mental health issues, pstd being the first that comes to mind.

My friend had a similar and awful birth. Both she and the baby nearly died. She didn't complain and I don't know if that helped or didn't but I do know that it's really messed with her head. She still (her ds is now 3) is adamant she wishes he hasn't been born and feels a growing not lessening sense of trauma.

Hugs for you op. flowers

CalmItKermitt Fri 24-Mar-17 18:30:32

That sounds awful op 💐

The midwife sounds a bit useless.

TotalPineapple Fri 24-Mar-17 18:31:13

That sounds awful. Someone who knows better than me will be along with better advice but I think you should contact PALs and complain.

Surely bleeding isn't normal (maybe it is for an induction? doesn't sound right to me) and you should have been examined promptly at that point and notes made.

DartmoorDoughnut Fri 24-Mar-17 18:34:03

Wow ... just wow sad I'm so glad you're both ok and yes definitely complain, the outcome might not be positive next time she ignores a patient

Nan0second Fri 24-Mar-17 18:34:13

I am an obstetrician.
You need to make a complaint via pals. That is not acceptable management of your pain and distress never mind the rest of it.
This will then lead to an examination of your notes by a senior midwife and an obstetrician and should lead to a face to face meeting with you and dh.
In our place they would then feedback to midwife old and young both positively and negatively as a lack of compassion and care is taken very seriously.
Best wishes x

sonyaya Fri 24-Mar-17 18:34:57

I'm so sorry you had a bad experience and so pleased you and your DC are ok.

I have no expertise but personally I would complain.

nutbrownhare15 Fri 24-Mar-17 18:35:22

I'm so sorry that happened. You are right to complain. Maybe speak to PALS in the first instance? But your first priority should be recovering so if the complaint is getting in the way of that you should put your mental health first.

KindDogsTail Fri 24-Mar-17 18:36:39

I think what happened to you was awful, Bootie, almost beyond belief. You must be so upset and feel you were powerless.

I cannot advise you about what you can do, but I hope someone else will come on this thread who can.

Congratulatins on the birth of your lovely baby.flowers I hope this ordeal won't leave you too upset.

Semaphorically Fri 24-Mar-17 18:36:47

I wouldn't start with a complaint, it probably won't get you the closure you need. I would start with a debrief on the birth with the obstetrics team, and also in parallel contact PALS for your hospital. You can use the debrief to ask about the care you received from the midwife as that was absolutely part of your labour and should therefore be part of the debrief. And PALS will help guide you on where you stand regarding a formal complaint.

It sounds like a very terrifying experience. I hope you can find a way to process it all flowers

bigredboat Fri 24-Mar-17 18:40:08

I would complain via pals in the first instance but I would actually consider reporting her to the nursing and midwifery council as she has a professional and legal responsibility to keep accurate records and the fact she had written nothing in your notes is not on. Glad it worked out it in the end for you and baby though.

Naughtylittleflea Fri 24-Mar-17 18:42:48

Definitely highlight your case. You can do this via PALS or you could contact head of maternity services at the hospital or even the clinical director e.g. A letter via their secretary - but PALS is set up to try and address these things.
Bleeding that amount is not normal.
By highlighting your experience you may save a life.
I hope you can put it behind you and are feeling better x

Gertrudeisgerman Fri 24-Mar-17 18:44:08

The notes they have released to you are the patient accessible notes. There is a second tier of notes on maternity systems that are 'closed notes' the young MW may have been writing her notes on there but they wont be released to you.

However, there are a couple of routes that you can take that means you don't need your notes. One is PALS, where you can complain about professional practice of individual RM's to the trust who employ them.

The second is the Head of Midwifery at the hospital. Did the young MW carry out vaginal examination?

Sunnysky2016 Fri 24-Mar-17 18:46:57

This sounds horrendous flowers glad you are both ok

Gertrudeisgerman Fri 24-Mar-17 18:47:20

Also do your notes state the amount of millilitres of your PPH? I'm asking because the amount is significant and can indicate how seriously they would take a complaint.

CoraPirbright Fri 24-Mar-17 18:52:26

God yes complain!! That sounds like you went through hell!! What a total shit show. And do take care of yourself - someone upthread mentioned PTSD and I don't think its beyond the bounds of possibility given what you have been through. flowers

steph0488 Fri 24-Mar-17 18:56:54

I'm so sorry to hear about you and your experience but I'm so happy to hear you and the baby are both ok.
However, yes I definitely think you should complain, the midwife had a duty of care to be with you and to make sure you were ok and observe you properly. Unfortunately almost 4 weeks ago I lost my baby at 41 weeks during child birth - my midwife forgot to check babies heartbeat at 2am (hourly checks) and when she came at 2.45 heartbeat was gone and although I had a crash section it was too late and my daughter couldn't be resuscitated. This has been the hardest experience of my life and had the outcome been different I would have never thought of making a complaint to hospital but because we lost my daughter the missed check and some other failings in my care are being taken very seriously and the hospital are doing a full inquiry.
Thankfully your outcome was very different but i truly believe if people speak out more about things that happen during their labours and make sure incidences like ours are noted properly then Midwife's and hospitals will have to be more diligent and held accountable for what can be very traumatic and costly mistakes.
Having an inquiry into what happened to my little girl won't help me now just as complaining about your experience won't change anything that happened to you but it could help another mum and their baby in labour in the future. Xx

INXS Fri 24-Mar-17 18:59:28

Steph - I'm so sorry for you and your lovely daughter. What an awful, awful thing to happen flowers

NoArmaniNoPunani Fri 24-Mar-17 18:59:47

You poor thing. What you went through was awful. I have PTSD from my traumatic birth so it's definitely something to look out for in the coming months. My care was fantastic so I had nothing to complain about. I think in your circumstances you should complain

nettyhetty Fri 24-Mar-17 18:59:47

My notes stated my PPH was 500ml, despite my (doctor) husband pointing out to them they only weighed the pad on the bed and not the vast quantity that hit the floor. They eventually, after he protested that I was much more ill than they were viewing it, estimated blood loss of 1.5l after checking blood count drop.

Op I also had a nightmare experience with my 1st (baby heart rate falling and not recovering and some other tmi on me for a public forum) and I found it too hard to complain at the time. I eventually did around 3 years later (to a consultant obstetrician I saw privately second time round to avoid repeat of the first). When she heard the reasons why I went privately she actually started an investigation on my behalf at the hospital.

I wish with hindsight I had raised the complaint earlier as, although I didn't realise it at the time, the trauma of the whole situation left me so shaken it affected my bonding with the baby and left me totally traumatised.

Once I finally complained and heard people acknowledge it shouldn't have happened it was like a weight had been lifted from me.

MammaTJ Fri 24-Mar-17 19:02:13

One major question, why were you doing all this to-ing and fro-ing to the desk? Did they not give you a call bell?

In my experience as a mum who had a birth and following illness of my baby go horribly wrong (we are ok now), we got taken to another hospital, due to my DDs illness and were then back in our nearer hospital a few days later.

As soon as we got back to our local hospital, the head of midwifery services came to see us and explained the mistakes that had been made and why. She also explained what had been done to prevent it happening again. She was very open and honest, told me she was determined her department would be transparent at all times.

That is the only thing that prevented me from taking it further, the fact that they were clearly aware they had messed up and were going to prevent it happening again!

It your case, you do not seem to have got this. So, go to PALS, take it further if you have to. Anything to stop it happening again!

PastysPrincess Fri 24-Mar-17 19:02:17

Definitely complain. I made a complaint against my midwife. It was upheld and will lie in her records; she had to do some further training as well. Apparently she was utterly shocked when she read my letter and didn't realise at all that there was a problem.

passthewineplz Fri 24-Mar-17 19:04:50

Gertrudeisgerman 'there is a second teir of notes on maternity systems' that are closed notes.

That's not correct information. My trust uses paper/written notes during labour and post natal. The computer system is used anti natally and for discharging patients to home.

1AnnoyingOrange Fri 24-Mar-17 19:05:57

What nanOsecond said, make a written complaint and write what you wrote above.

Miserylovescompany2 Fri 24-Mar-17 19:06:55

My God! You poor thing. Please make an official complaint. I'm so pleased to read you are both still here, the outcome could have been disastrous.

Like others have already suggested, please get some counselling ASAP.

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