A lack of basic care in the postnatal ward

My wife has given birth a couple of days ago at St Thomas’s hospital by an elective C-Section. We have experienced most units in St Thomas’s in regards to baby pre care and indeed when things have gone wrong in the past.

Our experiences of the midwives are very good previously and mostly now too. They are worked so hard yet do a very under-rated job and we’ve had some great relationships with them.

However the initial care in the postnatal ward after the c-section has left us somewhat stunned and is very concerning.

I have left my wife tonight with her being devastated and pretty much inconsolable. She is having the classic lack of sleep from a newborns demands, yet has had to put up with a high level of neglect and I’d go as far as saying lack of basic care… as in no care.

Since she was moved there she went over 24 hours without another visit from a midwife. We had to make a very large scene to get her catheter emptied (it only took 5 hours of chasing, one full catheter and no ability to give me a bucket to empty it myself). She was still lying there in her blood covered operating gown, full catheter (which was meant to be removed earlier), no one to care or clean her wound and ladies pads and also large gaps between pain killers without chasing for hours.

The Dr said that she could go home the next day and that her catheter would be removed and they’d get her walking by noon to lower the risk of blood clots and get her so that she could care for our baby at night more. We got no such thing and the catheter is still in and we had to argue and chase for hours yet again to get her standing well after 24 hours of surgery (she could move her feet and legs a couple of hours after surgery).

Basic hygiene has gone out of the window, no advice on anything and ignored buzzers suggest that the workforce is very understaffed and inadequate to offer the most basic care. Today I experienced many women crying about neglect, one who should have had her anti-clotting injection nearly 12 hours previously and had chased all day to no avail.

I am severely disappointed in St Thomas’s and would like an explanation as to why no one will care for my wife and clean her, change her bedding, remove her catheter, encourage and support her in walking for the first time and provide her adequate pain killers when needed. Also when the baby cries at night, she can’t pick it up and no one answers the buzzer or changes nappy when soiled.

I will be looking more into this as it has been emotionally devastating for my wife and has made her struggle more with staying calm for our baby and in its care. She feels like a prisoner with no support or basic hygiene provided.