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"Poor midwifery care in maternity ward"

About: Broome Health Campus / Maternity/Midwifery

(as the patient),

I recently birthed my baby in Broome at home before we could make it to hospital for their delivery a few months ago. I was under the care of Broome Hospital MGP throughout my pregnancy. My baby's birth went well, and they were born healthy and alert. 

We attended Broome Hospital at early hours of the morning to assist with the delivery of my placenta and to do a check on our baby. On arrival to Broome Hospital, my placenta was retained and my baby was still attached to the umbilical cord. We saw the ED triage nurse, who phoned maternity. Maternity reported that we must be admitted through ED and not directly to the maternity ward, despite the fact that I was still in the intrapartum period, having not delivered my placenta yet. After much debate between the triage nurse and midwife, we were then admitted directly to maternity. On arrival to the maternity ward, I was in fact directed to a bed in the swing room on the general ward opposite the maternity ward. This is a four-bed room that other than myself was vacant. I was looked after by a midwife who was unwelcoming, unfriendly, and lectured my spouse and I about birthing our baby at home in what I felt was an accusatory way that inferred that our home birth was intentional and irresponsible. I felt they weren't reassuring about me having a retained placenta, and provided no comfort or caring attitude. They also threatened that we would not be able to get the documentation required for our baby's birth certificate because they were born at home and not the hospital. 

It was there on the general ward that I was reviewed by a Dr. A drip was inserted and I was given IM syntocin which helped me successfully deliver my placenta. The midwife and the Dr were present for this. After I delivered my placenta, the Dr sutured a tear. A few hours later, my baby was reviewed by a paediatrician and was required to be admitted to the nursery for observations and only then was I given a bed on the maternity ward. On admission to the maternity ward, I noticed most beds were empty and one birthing suite was in use. 

I would like to summarise my views of my treatment by the midwife and that of the Broome Hospital Maternity Ward. 

I was a vulnerable person and I needed help. I went to Broome Hospital, and instead of being treated with respect and dignity, I felt I was subject to judgement and prosecution. Putting me on the general ward instead of the maternity ward felt like an unsafe tactic to belittle and punish me for delivering my baby at home. This physical barrier to maternity made me feel so unwelcome and dejected. Further to this, I felt the safest and most appropriate place for me to receive my care was not on a general ward bed, but in the birthing suite, operating theatre, or at a minimum the maternity ward. I believe there was a physical barrier between myself and the resources that were potentially needed to deal with my high-risk situation, such as skilled maternity staff and obstetric resuscitation equipment. The lighting was inadequate for suturing, as was positioning (lithotomy not being able to be achieved in a general bed). I felt my privacy in such a vulnerable situation was also compromised, and the general ward is more exposed to things like MRSA that I would have preferred to avoid for my newborn baby. I felt that the midwife took advantage of my need for specialist obstetric care to prove a point. In my opinion, it was a power play.

Furthermore, the WACHS values were not upheld during my patient journey at Broome Hospital. I wasn't treated with compassion, integrity or the best quality care.

Overall, in my admission to hospital during this time, I felt there was an absence of woman centred care. No one was advocating for me. I was made to feel ashamed and endured scrutiny and judgement from my midwife. There was also an air of accusation, that I purposefully birthed my baby at home and therefore I wasn't worthy of standard care. Overall, I feel that I have been mistreated by the midwife, and let down by the Broome Maternity Ward and the hospital system- the place that is supposedly the safest place to deliver my child.


Response from Wendy McKinley, Operations Manager, Broome Hospital 3 weeks ago
Wendy McKinley
Operations Manager,
Broome Hospital
Submitted on 05/01/2021 at 12:43
Published on Care Opinion at 12:44

picture of Wendy McKinley

Dear handsetqp64,

Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback about your experience at Broome Hospital.

The birth of a baby should be a positive experience that you can look back on with fond memories and I am so sorry that you felt isolated and disrespected. Having an unexpected homebirth would certainly have been challenging enough, without the added complications of needing to come to hospital in an emergency and I am saddened to think that you felt judged at such a vulnerable time.

I would like to assure you that we are fully committed to supporting the preferences of birthing mothers and assisting the team here at Broome Hospital to deliver woman-centred maternity care. However, upon reading your story, it is clear that there are a number of issues that we need to look into, including education for our staff on the importance of demonstrating our values with each and every person that we care for.

We would like to learn from your experience so that other families do not have the same experience in the future. I would really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you personally about your experience. My name is Wendy McKinley and I am the Operations Manager at Broome Hospital. If you are happy to do so, please call me on 0417 987 724 at a time of your convenience.

I hope that you have now physically recovered and are enjoying spending time with your newest family member.

Thank you again for your feedback and I do hope to hear from you soon.

Yours sincerely

Wendy McKinley

Operations Manager

Broome Hospital

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