WHAT APOLOGY? Elizabeth Smith and her husband, Michael, with baby Daniel, who was born at the weekend, and daughter Kimberley,
WHAT APOLOGY? Elizabeth Smith and her husband, Michael, with baby Daniel, who was born at the weekend, and daughter Kimberley,

Caesarean mum says there was no apology

By ZOE SATHERLEY zsatherley@northernstar.com.au

CAESAREAN birth mum Elizabeth Smith is delighted with her new son, but remains angry about the handling of her baby's birth at Lismore Base Hospital.

The Lismore woman had been booked to have an elective caesarean section last Thursday, but was rung at home and told the operation was off because there were no beds.

Despite a health service statement to the contrary, she is emphatic that no-one apologised to her about the cancellation, or told her that it was medically safe to do so.

A spokesman for the North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) gave an assurance last week that an apology had been given to the woman and that a medical assessment had been made that neither she nor the baby were in any danger.

The NCAHS also said the woman was told to immediately ring the hospital if she had any concerns about either her wellbeing or that of the baby.

However, Mrs Smith said she never had such a conversation.

Further, she said that when she did ring the hospital at 4.30am on Sunday, 24 hours after her labour had started at home, she was told once more that there were no beds.

Mrs Smith said she was told to ring back in an hour to see if the situation had changed.

Instead, she rang her mother, who came straight over, bundled her daughter into the car between painful contractions and took her to the hospital, demand- ing a bed be found.

Baby Daniel, weighing in at 7lb 2oz, was born by caesarean section less than two hours later.

He was transferred to the special care nursery and Elizabeth was not able to hold him or see him for the first 12 hours of his life.

Mrs Smith said she was unsure if the stress and delay of the birth had anything to do with the baby being taken away from her.

However, a hospital spokesman said it was not uncommon for babies to require special care or immediate transfer to the special care nursery because of medical complications following a caesarean birth.

He said the staff who took the call from Mrs Smith and those who attended her during the birth were not rostered on yesterday, so couldn't be asked about the case.

He said that the health service would make further in- quiries today.

What do you think?

Phone the Star Feedback line on 6624 3266 or email opinions@northernstar.com.au



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