Monday, April 13, 2009

An Introduction To Bristol Children's Hospital.

It wasn't long before we found ourselves heading back to a Bristol hospital.

One evening Hari's twin sister was clearly unwell and I had to call the out of hours doctor who decided to send her to the Children's Hospital in Bristol (Old Building), where she was subsequently admitted. She was diagnosed with viral meningitis.

As Hari was still (according to the 'powers that be') too small to be taken out in public in case she caught something she too had to stay at the hospital and was in the same cubicle on the baby ward as her sister. It wasn't long before it became apparent that she too had developed the same infection - although when I alerted the ward staff to this it took some hours before she was finally seen by a doctor.

Most of the nurses on the ward were fine, despite the fact that they were having to work in an atmosphere and regime that did not enable them to deliver optimum care to their patients.

The ward sister ruled over both the nurses and parents with some very strange ideas!

She insisted that the babies were all fed four hourly; so if a baby was hungry after three hours they were made to wait until their feed was due. If the sister wasn't on duty the nurses would allow a hungry baby to be fed early but would write on the feed chart that the baby had been fed at the 'four hourly' time. Consequently when the sister came back on duty babies would have to go even longer without feeds as the nurses had to stick to the time the feed was due on the feed chart! (Mothers who were breast feeding were able to escape this dictatorship and feed their babies when they wanted to.)

At this time Hari was still on three hourly feeds and the doctors insisted that this should continue. The sister reluctantly agreed to this but made it clear to me that she was not happy about this at all and that this concession was only being made because the doctors had wanted it.(Clearly parents would not be allowed such a concession without a doctor's permission!)

There was another very strange system with regard to what the babies wore. The ward had a stock of baby clothes and the sister insisted that all the babies should wear hospital clothes and not their own clothes.

The problem with this was that many of the clothes were well worn and some of them were stained. The nurses would do their best to bring their patients clothes of a reasonable quality (parents were not allowed to fetch the clothes from the cupboard!) but there were times when the clothes I was expected to put on my babies were clothes that I wouldn't even consider fit for a jumble sale! In truth some of them were only fit for the bin! Parents were still expected to dress their babies in these items.

More on this particular subject later!

The basic attitude that came across from the sister was that the hospital was in charge of every aspect of the babies' lives whilst they were there. Parents had no right to interfere with anything to do with their babies! Parents who didn't want their babies to have dummies found that their babies were automatically given dummies!

There seemed to be an attitude that parents should not leave the ward for longer than was absolutely necessary to use the loo or get something to eat. There were times when even getting something to eat appeared to be frowned upon - although junior doctors seemed to be trying to scupper this attitude by repeatedly telling parents that they should get off the ward for a decent time - go for a walk and get a break - whilst sister stood behind them scowling ferociously!

We we SO pleased to go home!

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