Monday, April 13, 2009

Back To The Beginning.

Going large really does mean going back to the beginning and going back to the beginning means going all the way back to ante-natal.

The ante-natal clinic is where they are supposed to monitor your pregnancy and notice any problems.

The doctor at the ante-natal clinic, Annette Bradley, failed to notice the most significant thing about this pregnancy.

There were TWO babies!

Admittedly scans weren't as routine back then as they are now but for some obscure reason she also failed to send me for a scan. She seemed to be sending everybody else for scans - but not me and in all honesty she should have realised that I was carrying twins when she examined me.

Had the fact that I was carrying twins been diagnosed then most, if not all, of the resulting problems could have been avoided.

When I went into labour I was admitted to the local maternity unit that dealt with births where no problems were expected. Once there I was told that the 'baby' was breech and the cord was in the way - then transferred to the nearby hospital for a cesarean section.

Once there the members of a team buzzed around preparing me for the op and I signed the consent form. The obstetric consultant was waiting in theatre and he sent a message to say that he would do the delivery in theatre but he was not doing a c-section. At this point he had not even set eyes on me and a member of the team assured me that once he saw me in theatre he would change his mind and do the c-section.

He did NOT change his mind!

The problem with that was that the twins were not just twins - they were 'locked twins'.

This meant that the first baby to be born was breech and the second baby was was correctly positioned with her head down. Coupled with this they were facing each other and the head of the second baby was below the head of the first baby. So as the obstetrician tried to deliver the first baby their heads were being forced backwards - with the very real potential for severe trauma being caused to their necks before they were even born!

At some point the obstetrician finally realised the seriousness of the situation and I was rapidly anaesthetised in order for the twins to be manipulated apart and delivered with forceps.

After the birth the twins were transferred to St. Michael's hospital in Bristol to be cared for on the special care baby unit. I was transferred in a different ambulance later on that evening.
Naturally all written records of the birth were 'lost' in transit.

Why are we not surprised at that?

(I should add here that the first explanation I got regarding the details of the birth came from friends and neighbours who had acquired their information from staff at the local hospital - so much for patient confidentiality! These details were later confirmed when a doctor I had never seen before stood at the end of my bed one day - explaining it all to a bunch of students. This would not be the last time that they didn't bother to explain something directly to the patient!)

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