I mentioned in my last post that I had written a complaint letter to the hospital and had a meeting with the hospital as a result.
I had not planned to write a letter initially, as I felt that everything that happened was "just one of those things". It wasn't until I explained to a lady I see for bereavement counselling what had happened to me and as a result, to Harry that she felt that things were not done as they should've been and that I should write a letter of complaint to bring these issues to the attention of those who need to know.
We spent a long time, discussing the minute by minute events and created a document outlining the facts of the day, and how it all made me feel. Once we had completed this document, I wrote a list of all the things that I felt were sub-standard, and the actions that I felt were appropriate to remedy those failings.
I bravely emailled this massive work of art to the hospital and waited for a response. I used to work at the Westcountry Ambulance Service Complaints Department so I had a good idea of what to expect, a holding letter initially, followed by an investigation into the areas raised and then a "I hope you find this to your satisfaction" quote thrown in towards the end. It was to my surprise, that I received a phone call on the next working day from the Senior Midwife at the hospital, who wanted a meeting to discuss my letter. A meeting? Wow. We never offered meetings to anyone who complained at the ambulance service. At least not before we had sent out any kind of explanations.
I accepted her offer of a meeting and went along prepared for a bit of a fight. I felt like I was doing this for Harry's sake, and to save the lives of other babies who may experience the things I did. I was nervous waiting for her to come down to the foyer to meet me, but when she did, she immediately put me at ease. Unfortunately, her office was right in the pre and post-natal ward where I spent a good deal of time in my pregnancy and it all felt rather bizarre being back there again.
Anyway, we talked about the areas where I felt midwives and doctors had become complacent during my many visits to the hospital complaining of a bleed, and how on earth during the five scans I had that the insertion of my cord was not spotted, about the incredibly rude attitude of one of the doctors that saw me, about the fact that some key facts were not recorded in my notes, about how no one seemed to read my notes at all and how I was left for four hours with no idea I was bleeding.
I really, truly expected her to say that the staff were always acting within guidelines and it was all in my head, making a fuss. I had let out a massive rant onto paper. I was just a big old whinge bag. But, no! I was right, things needed to change, people needed to be reminded of the policies and procedures in place and some policies need to be reviewed as a result of my case. I already knew that the hospital were undertaking an investigation into what happened and have been working with the lady who is heading up the investigation, giving her my account of what happened and also providing her with many questions surrounding my care. The lady I met with at the hospital is quite involved in this investigation, and told me that the issues raised in my complaint will be included in the investigation, as action points to learn from. This investigation is going to be presented to me by way of a report, followed up with a meeting with the hospital staff to run through it with me and make sure I completely understand what they are saying. The lady I met with said to me "when you read this document, it may be quite a shock". I asked her what she meant. She told me "there are going to be a lot of things that need to be learnt from, things that should've been done differently, and this is a learning process for us, to improve our services". That stuck with me when I headed back to my car. "a lot of things that need to be learnt from, things that should've been done differently" how am I going to feel when I read this report? I think I am going to feel angry.... it feels like a catalogue of failings that have cost me my son. The saddest thing is though, that what has happened, has happened. It cannot be changed. I have lost my son and there is nothing that any remedial action can resolve. All I can do is try to help others to not have to endure this pain... The report is due at the end of October. I will keep you informed.