Monday, April 13, 2009

The Great Escape!

Hari's stay on the baby ward had been problematic to say the least.

There had been some major concerns about the standard of care available there.

Hari had been left on sheets she had vomited on.

Hari had been left on sheets that were wet and dirty when nappies had leaked.

Hari had been left in dirty nappies for long periods of time.

Hari's records had been incorrect as the feeds had been repeatedly recorded as having been given in full when, in reality, she had only swallowed half the required amount.

Hari had been expected to wear dirty and stained clothes.

So all that neglect was going on and I was threatened with a place of safety order for daring to walk down the corridor with MY baby!!!!

I arrived on the ward one morning to discover the final straw!

When I arrived on the ward on this particular morning I found Hari screaming and extremely distressed. The first thing I did was to check her feed chart to see if she was due for a feed. According to the chart she was nearly three hours overdue for a feed but I realised that a nurse may simply have forgotten to fill in the chart after the last feed.

So I went to look for a nurse to check this out.

That was when I found the next problem - there were NO nurses on the ward!

In fact I was the only adult on the ward. There were no other parents present and no staff at all!

I checked the staff room and there was nobody there. Then I went along the corridor to the milk kitchen but there was nobody there. I went back to the ward and there was still no staff or parents present.

Just me and a whole ward of babies -most of the babies were screaming and I seriously contemplated joining them!!!!!!!

Now just imagine the lay-out of the ward -

You entered through a set of unlocked double doors and were faced with a corridor that was lined with glass walled cubicles. At the far end of the corridor there was a door which led outside to the garden. From the garden it was relatively easy to reach the road. ANYBODY could have walked onto that ward and left, unnoticed, through the garden door, with as many babies as they chose to take with them!

But for the next twenty minutes it was just me and the babies! I went back and forth between Hari and other babies - popping dummies back into mouths and trying to get some of them to stop crying. Believe me this was a hanging offence - you were definitely not supposed to touch other babies!!!!! One little boy would not respond to his dummy at all -just spat it out again and continued screaming - but I didn't dare to pick him up and give him a cuddle - they'd have hung me twice for that!!!!!

Eventually a nurse appeared and I told her how distressed this little boy was and asked if she knew which nurse was looking after Hari that day, as she may have missed a feed. She said she didn't know but that she would find out.

She came back and said 'oh it's me, I didn't realise - but it doesn't matter'!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well excuse me but it damn well did matter!

Hari had been left totally unattended for almost three hours at least! She had not been given a feed that was almost three hours overdue and this stupid woman was telling me that it didn't matter!

I decided that Hari was not staying on that ward for a moment longer than necessary and asked to speak to the consultant, Peter Fleming. I was going to ask him to move Hari to another ward.

I waited on the ward until lunchtime. He did not come to speak to us. For the majority of the morning I was in the cubicle with Hari, when I left the cubicle I went out through the garden door for a smoke but was able to see the other entrance to the ward from there. I did not see him arrive on the ward.

I needed to get some lunch, so told the nurse I was going to the canteen but that if the consultant arrived I would come back immediately if she phoned the canteen to say he was there. She agreed that she would do this.

When I got to the canteen the consultant was there so I politely asked him if he had got the message that I wanted to speak to him. (After all messages don't always reach the recipient.) He said that he had received the message and had been to the ward but that I hadn't been there.

Remember that apart from going for a smoke just outside the garden door, I had been there all morning - and whilst being on the garden side of the door I had a clear view of the other entrance to the ward and had not seen the consultant arrive. Also remember that the nurse I had spoken to before going to the canteen had said nothing about the consultant having already been to the ward.

I decided that the only solution was to take Hari home - so when I got back to the ward I told them that this was my intention.

Ward staff were also now insisting that the consultant had been to the ward during the morning but that I had not been there.

So there were two possibilities - either he was lying and they were also lying to back him up, or he had come to the ward when I was in Hari's cubicle but had been lied to by staff who had told him that I was not there when I was.


Either way Hari and her twin sister were going home - whether 'they' liked it or not!

It seemed that they didn't like it and the most ridiculous situation unfolded.

The cubicle was next to the office and there was glass between the two rooms - I could see straight into the office.

Nurses gathered in the office.

They were joined by some lesser god.

They were joined by the medical social worker.

They were joined by the physiotherapist.(Poor Jim - none of this was his fault!)

There they all were in a little huddle - leaning against the desk and other office furniture - arms folded - barely speaking - they really didn't know what to do! They knew that the events of the morning put them firmly in the wrong.

Eventually a nurse and lesser god came into the cubicle and asked me to sign a form saying I was taking responsibility for taking Hari home. At first I refused to sign it and told them that I had no choice but the take her home after she had been neglected there once too often. I did offer to sign the form in the end but told them that I would write on the form the reasons for taking her home - at that point they refused to give me the form to sign!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So we left anyway - with the knowledge that if Hari needed to be admitted again there was no way that I would allow her to be admitted to that ward.

No comments: