"Pregnancy and birth"

About: Broome Health Campus / Maternity/Midwifery

(as the patient),

As first-time parents, we were enrolled in the Midwifery Group Practice program (MGP) through Broome Hospital.

Once our baby was born, they needed assistance with their breathing and was taken to the waiting paediatrician and was put on to a breathing machine and subsequently spent a few days in the nursery. The process of birthing the placenta had started and our midwife knew we wanted this to occur naturally. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case and I was given an injection to birth the placenta due to my bleeding. Soon after, the lights in the room were on and the room was flooded with doctors and nurses. There was blood everywhere. My partner was running between our baby on a breathing machine and me bleeding out on the table. There was a locum doctor that attended the midwife’s call for help.

We’d never seen or met this doctor before, they never introduced themselves or explained what they were about to do which made it a huge surprise when they shoved their hand up into my vagina causing intense pain. Understanding this was an emergency situation however there was no consent to the procedure. I had just birthed a child with no drugs and then to have a person's hand up there was extremely painful. It also caused great distress and trauma to my partner and myself.

A different doctor entered the room as they suggested that they give the procedure a go as they had smaller hands, they told me their name and explained what she needed to do and why. Unfortunately, they were unable to recover the remaining placenta and I was eventually taken to surgery.

The following day the first doctor that had caused me so much trauma came to see me in my hospital bed. They asked me how I was and told me that if I was in a third world country I would have died. This again caused me great distress as I wasn’t in a third world country and I felt they were trying to justify their actions.

After 5 nights in hospital, we were allowed to come home. Although we felt like we were very well looked after by the amazing team of midwives, after the ordeal we experienced as outlined above, the fact that the facilities were not able to accommodate for my partner really affected us both. My partner, the parent of our baby was not permitted to stay at the hospital. I was in a shared room so they were asked to leave after visiting hours had finished. I needed their support and they needed mine after the trauma of the birth, surgery and my baby being in the nursery from 2 nights. The rooms were small with no space for visitors or luggage.

Once we were home our midwife supported us. Being a first-time mother this was a difficult time for us, adjusting to being parents, my body healing, dealing with the emotional side of what happened after birth and settling back into home was not easy. We did feel supported by the midwives

Following our time on the MGP with our midwife finishing, we were in the care of the Community Health team. We felt extremely unsupported by them and very alone. They visited our home and were in and out within minutes. We weren’t offered the opportunity to engage in discussions about our concerns to a point where we felt comfortable with the answers given, rather it felt like we were just shut down with answers saying such things were normal. Furthermore, on one occasion, I told the nurse that my baby has Aboriginal heritage and they referred to my baby as a half cast, which I was extremely disgusted by. I believe an employee; especially of a government agency making such a comment in this day and age is so unacceptable. This is particularly concerning in a region where there is such high Indigenous population, which is subject to service by this branch of the Health Department.

It’s taken us a while to write this review on our experience at Broome Hospital as we are slowly recovering from our experience for the birth of our first child, both good and bad.

Responses

Response from Bec Smith, Regional Director, WACHS - Kimberley last week
Bec Smith
Regional Director,
WACHS - Kimberley
Submitted on 14/10/2020 at 15:39
Published on Care Opinion at 15:40


picture of Bec Smith

Dear Busy mum,

Thank you for your feedback about your birthing and postnatal care in Broome.

It sounds like you have had a very traumatic time and I am really sorry that this is what you experienced as a first-time mother.

You have mentioned a number of issues that are particularly concerning to me. I would like you to know that I have already spoken with the Operations Manager for Broome Hospital and the Director of the Kimberley Population Health Unit (who manages Community Health Services) and asked that they review your feedback, investigate the quality of care being delivered within their services and implement any improvements that we can make.

I would like to assure you that the expectation of compassionate, professional and culturally appropriate communication with all of our patients and their families and carers can and will be addressed immediately with staff from both services.

In relation to the lack of space in the Broome Maternity Unit, this is an ongoing challenge and is, unfortunately, more difficult to address. While Broome Hospital has funding to progress a significant upgrade to the birth suites, the design of the facility does not allow for any expansion of the ward area. There may have been other boarder options available to you and your partner and if we can obtain some more information about your situation, we will be able to review whether all of those options were explored.

I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you personally about your experience so that we can take an in-depth look at your and your baby’s care. We are keen to learn and make improvements so that other families do not have the same experience in the future.

If you are happy to speak with me, please call me directly on (08) 9195 2850 or via email at bec.smith@health.wa.gov.au.

Again, please accept my sincere apology for the lack of support, respect and care afforded to you and your family.

I hope you and your family are doing well and you are enjoying being new parents.

I am looking forward to speaking with you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Bec Smith

Regional Director

WA Country Health Service - Kimberley

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