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"Complication from a C/Section ignored"

About: Fiona Stanley Hospital / Antenatal Clinic, Birth Suite, Maternal Fetal Assessment Unit, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Unit, Wards 3B, 3C, 3D, 3DO, Visiting Midwife Service Fiona Stanley Hospital / Emergency Department Rockingham General Hospital / Emergency Department Rockingham General Hospital / General surgery Rockingham General Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

My 4th baby was born at Fiona Stanley Hospital by elective caesarean after 3 previous caesareans. I only had 2 obstetrician appointments and the rest were with midwives. The first appointment went well and I felt well cared for and my needs addressed.

The second felt like I was taking up the obstetrician's time and they wanted me to sign for all the paperwork and said they would discuss certain procedures later on.

On the morning of my scheduled caesarean, I was very anxious and the 2 doctors doing the procedure came to see me (both I had never seen before). One of the obstetricians I had an appointment with was in the room and was perhaps the senior doctor on duty. Following the surgery, nothing was said to me except that it had gone well. They also were removing my tubes if they could get to them or tying them off. Following the surgery I didn't ask as I was more concerned over my new baby.

Recovery was painful and the pain was not under control until probably the second day. Another dr came to visit me to do a check (one I had not seen before) and this dr clearly, in my opinion, had not read my notes as they asked me what my plans were for contraception. This made me question had they actually removed my tubes now?  

After leaving hospital I took it very easy and had help so I wouldn't overdo it. My postpartum bleeding stopped after 2 and a bit weeks but then at 3 and a bit weeks I started bleeding heavily soaking one pad in 5 minutes. Being unsure of what to do, I called Fiona Stanley Maternity ward but was told they can't do anything and to call my GP or go to ED.

My husband dropped me off at Rockingham Emergency Department and after being triaged I waited in the waiting room. After some time I began to feel lightheaded and fainted in the waiting room which caused a whole heap of nurses and doctors to run to my aid and attend to me. After being seen by an Obstetrician, it was suspected I had an infection in my uterus and to admit me on IV antibiotics and keep my fasting from midnight in case I needed surgery. The Doctor said that once the antibiotics kick in the pain will disappear. Well, the bleeding stopped but the pain didn't. The next day as the bleeding stopped they were happy to discharge me that evening with new antibiotics to take home.  

The next day I noticed a rash appear on my chest and stomach and by the following morning it was on my arms. As it was a weekend, I could not get into my GP and it was also a public holiday period so the earliest I could get in was two days later. After calling Health Direct they advised me to go to ED as it was a reaction to the antibiotics but I felt couldn't just stop taking them as then the infection would not go away. I also noted that I was still in a lot of pain and the Nurse said that meant that the antibiotics were not working. So I headed to the ED once more and it was very busy and I felt sorry for the staff. After waiting 3 hours or so a Doctor wrote me a new script for different antibiotics and when I said I was still in pain, advised me that they can't do ultrasounds at this time anyway and so just to deal with it until I see my GP.  

The next day, I visited my GP who told me to go for an ultrasound to see if there were any retained products. Two days after this, the GP told me the results of the ultrasound and said I have to go back to ED with the results as it shows something left and, as I was still in a lot of pain, the Obstetric or Gynaecology team will know what to do.

Well, they didn't even see me. I was eventually seen by a junior Dr who took bloods and said it all looks good and said the pain is likely from me overdoing it. I told them I don't even unstack the dishwasher, I have been taking it easy. They sent me home with Tramadol and Oxycodone while breastfeeding a 4 week old.

4 days later I went back to my GP as I was still in a lot of pain, they said I have to go back to ED but suggested trying a different ED. So I went to Fiona Stanley thinking this is where I had my baby it might be better.  

I was wrong. I was seen this time only by a Nurse with, I believe, extra skills, who after bloods and urine came back clear, had, in my opinion, the nerve to tell me is it in my head! Telling me that I am overdoing it, I have 4 kids I am not coping - is that why I am here. I was mortified, I was in serious pain and felt no one was helping me.  

My GP also gave me a referral to a private gynaecologist who saw me two days later took one feel of my abdomen and said my uterus is not how a 5-week postpartum uterus should be and scheduled me for a D&C the following week after running some bloods and taking some swabs.

After the D&C revealed nothing, they went in for a look laparoscopically with a camera and found a fluid pocket from my bladder being stitched with my uterus. The fluid pocket was greater than 75 ml. They said no wonder I was in so much pain.

How good it was to hear that it wasn't just all in my head. I still feel upset and outraged at how Fiona Stanley and Rockingham treated me, if I didn't go private I don't know what would happen.


Response from Neil Doverty, Executive Director, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group, South Metropolitan Health Service 2 months ago
Neil Doverty
Executive Director, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group,
South Metropolitan Health Service
Submitted on 25/08/2021 at 11:52
Published on Care Opinion at 11:53

picture of Neil Doverty

Dear Shadow88,

Thank you for being brave and speaking up about your experience here at Fiona Stanley Hospital. It was quite a confronting read. I shared your story with the Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, he has meticulously gone through the points you have raised.

We are sincerely sorry this was your experience.

I would like to invite you to come and speak with the Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Coordinator of Nursing and Midwifery so we can fully understand your experience and initiate a detailed review of your care.

I would encourage you to please contact our Patient and Family Liaison Service (6152 4013 or so we can arrange this.

We do appreciate you sharing your story and thank you again for providing us with feedback so that we are able to grow and improve our services.

Kind regards,

Neil Doverty

Group Executive Director

Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group.

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Response from Kath Smith, Executive Director, Rockingham Peel Group, South Metropolitan Health Service 2 months ago
Kath Smith
Executive Director, Rockingham Peel Group,
South Metropolitan Health Service
Submitted on 25/08/2021 at 11:52
Published on Care Opinion at 11:54

picture of Kath Smith

Dear Shadow88,

Thank you for reaching out to let us know of your recent experience with our hospital after the birth of your fourth baby. I am truly saddened to read that you were in such a lot of pain and felt you were not heard or shown compassion when you sought assistance. It must have been an extremely difficult time for you and your family.

Please accept my sincere apologies.

Please be assured I take your feedback seriously. I am concerned to hear of the issues you had with your care and would like us to investigate them thoroughly.

If you would prefer to work directly with one health service, we will liaise with Fiona Stanley Hospital Patient Family Liaison to ensure we receive all the information we need to fully investigate and understand the issues you have raised related to your care at Rockingham General Hospital. Alternatively, if you would like to contact us directly I encourage you to make contact with our Consumer Liaison Officers on 9599 4323 so we can comprehensively look into the specific issues you have raised.

I am genuinely sorry that the birth of your baby - such an exciting time in your family’s life was overshadowed by your experience.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your journey with us. I sincerely hope that you are recovering well and that you are enjoying the new addition to your family.

Kind regards,

Kath Smith

Executive Director

Rockingham Peel Group

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