by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow
On Saturday night a young family were about to settle down to watch a DVD. They had three children and the fourth baby was due sometime soon, but so far there had been no sign of labour beginning. At about 7pm labour began suddenly, with no warning.
They left almost immediately for the trip to Mt Gambier Hospital.
Contractions were about 5 minutes apart already and the hospital was over 140K away.
They rang the Mt Gambier Hospital, explaining their situation and they were told to call into Millicent Hospital for an ambulance if the contractions were any closer together by the time they reached Millicent.
They reached Millicent at about 9-00pm and went to the hospital. She was examined by the local doctor on duty and he advised her to go to Mt Gambier by ambulance. After discussions with the doctor and her husband, they decided to continue on by car because they thought it may be quicker than waiting for an ambulance.
Being told by Mt Gambier Hospital to go to Millicent and then being told by Millicent to go on to Mt Gambier, added to this couple’s confusion and distress they said.
Their story continues here:
“When I was at Millicent I was upset that I was in a hospital with my doctor whom I’d seen my whole pregnancy, but had to travel on to have my baby delivered by people I didn’t know.”
“The trip to Mt Gambier was scary. Every time I had a contraction I said (yelling) to my husband – hurry up, hurry up – and every time the contraction lessened I’d say (yelling) – slow down, slow down. It was dangerous trip.”
“My husband is not usually very outspoken, but from Millicent to Mt Gambier he kept saying, this is disgusting, this is disgusting. Seeing me in such pain and knowing the labour was so quick, he was really worried he’d be delivering our baby on the roadside. I’d never had such a quick labour and there was no warning.”
“We arrived at the Mt Gambier Hospital, I was admitted, had a shower and it was time to push. Our baby was born at 11-15pm. This labour was just so quick and we were not expecting it.”
“The delivery was really good and the doctor delivering was very experienced and the staff was great; it was the after care that was the problem,” she said.
“The doctor had to leave me, to deliver another baby and carry out a C Section. I had a 2nd degree tear and I had to wait until almost 3 am for the doctor to stitch me. By the time I had a shower and was back in bed it was early morning and I was absolutely had it, I was exhausted.”
“Two years ago when I had my third child at the Mt Gambier Hospital, they were so busy, I wasn’t allowed to shower after the birth because they needed the room for the next delivery.”
“They are so busy and understaffed that they just can’t keep up and when we all have to go to Mt Gambier too, it just makes it worse for the staff.”
The following day, (Sunday) new mum asked to be transferred back to Millicent Hospital for post natal care but was initially told there was no midwife on duty, so she could not be transferred to Millicent. However, the doctors were able to make arrangements and she transferred to Millicent at about 6pm Sunday by private car – there was a midwife on duty when she arrived.
“I was made very welcome, they were great. I stayed two days and then went home.”
“If I couldn’t have been transferred to Millicent Hospital I would have gone home from Mt Gambier Hospital straight away.”
“It’s bad enough having to travel to Millicent from where we live to have our babies, but Mt Gambier is a lot further and for us it made things more difficult. My husband had our other three children to look after and the visiting hours at Mt Gambier are very strict, so he wouldn’t have been able to bring the children to see me. For us it just didn’t work for me being in Mt Gambier Hospital.”
“We have a visiting midwife service from Kingston and that works for me. With three other children to look after, it is easier to have the midwife come to me. The midwife who visits me is great, I love her.”
“I am devastated that Obstetric Services have been closed at Millicent. I would much rather deliver in Millicent and stay there after the birth with out all the travel back and forth. The midwives at Millicent are beautiful, they recognise us in the street or when we are shopping, they take an interest in our babies always asking how they are going. We have a real bond with these beautiful midwives.”
“I was shopping in Millicent recently and I heard my name called out. It was one of the midwives wanting to know how I was. It was lovely.”
“I just hope the midwives stay so that services can be re-instated at Millicent.”
“I’d hate other mums to miss out on what I have experienced at Millicent Hospital and think that how it is at Mt Gambier – is how it is.”
This couple hope to highlight the problems new parents are facing, due to the closure of Obstetric Services between Murray Bridge and Mt Gambier, a distance of 360kilometres and the additional distance they must travel while in labour. It is not a criticism of either of the hospitals, the staff or any individual.
CHSA have been contacted for a response regarding the additional distances parents have to travel to birth, with the closure of Obstetric Services between Murray Bridge and Mt Gambier, (it includes Tailem Bend and Kingston Hospitals and also Penola), but a response to this question has not yet been received. CHSA have also been asked to respond to the patients 3 hour wait for her stitches and if this is an acceptable waiting time. No reply has been receive at the time of posting this story.