Supporting Families, Preventing Tragedies

Paige

Damaged

Paige

Thursday, 20 August 1998

4 weeks prior to Paige being born, I experienced long bouts of contractions, not Braxton hicks like my midwife tried to tell me. I was over the couch having to breathe and I could feel the pressure of her head pushing down. This was my fourth child so I felt at the time that I knew what I was talking about.

We called her to pre warn her that we thought this was it. She said that she would wait for another call from us later, but to get the support people around to help. So we did, but after approx 4 hours it all stopped. I felt really stupid, yet not right. I was sure I was in labour.

Nearly a week later I started up again, exactly the same. I asked the midwife to attend to “check me out” but she refused, said it’s probably Braxton hicks. Again I could feel the pressure of her head and it was painful. We begged her to come and check me, and still she refused. We were told to ring her later if it carried on.

Again hours later it stopped. I was so confused, thought I was loosing the plot.

The next day she came out. She didn’t check or examine me, just said “every 3rd and 4th mum reckons they’re in labour when there not.” She left me with an asthma puffer to use if they started again. (God knows why – especially when after she left we noted that it was her sons.)

Four times this happened. We were getting more and more angry with the midwife for refusing to check me. She made me feel like I was nuts. After the fourth time she came out and had a go at me and told me “if I wanted she would take me in and get me a c-section which would probably hurt me and my baby but if I’m going to keep bothering her then she will.”

I was so confused what with pregnancy hormones and busy with my 3 children. I was so tired. Then I started bleeding a lot.

We contacted her again and again she put us off, said “yes I will be out to check you. This is your show.” Surprise, surprise, she didn’t show until a few days later when we threatened to go and drag her out.

She finally examined me (to her disagreement) her face said it all – it was one of shock. She said “Oh my god you’re 5cm dilated and your waters are really bulging.” She swept my cervix and said “Get ready the babies coming today.”

Finally. I was relieved. Never in a million years could I have dreamt of what was about to change my life. I probably sound stupid not doing anything sooner, but she convinced me it was me. I now feel very stupid. The guilt is painful.

Well Paige was born at home in water on the 20th August 1998. Things came on very quick. I remember saying to the midwife “She’s coming, I can feel her,” she said “No, not yet,” as she was looking down. As the midwife raised her head Paige shot across the pool. The midwife was in such a shock she grabbed pages arm and wrenched her back to put her on me. I say wrenched because that is exactly what she did.

Paige cried immediately because of this. She damaged her arm and shoulder. Paige was born with positional talapies which is (we were later to learn) the position of which she was pushed into in the womb. Her feet were right angle. It was then I new something was wrong not only with her feet.

We then went on with her not feeding properly and again the midwife saying it must have been me. We used to have to literally express milk and put it in a bottle and pour it down her throat.

She used to have these episodes where she jerked; at that stage I didn’t’ know it was epilepsy. The midwife said it was fine.

We went to an orthopaedic surgeon about Paige’s feet. It was later in an investigative report that we learnt that the doctor had told the midwife to make an appointment with a paediatrician as he was concerned with Paige. We never got the message. It took 8 months to get an appointment with a paediatrician as the midwife and her friend the nurse refused to admit that anything was wrong.

We went to the paediatrician who gave her a CT scan, and then we got the diagnosis. I remember sitting in a dark room in the hospital. It was cold, there was just the paediatrician and us, no nurse no support person. He said he was in a rush and didn’t have time to discuss things, but she was severely brain damaged and will more likely never walk or talk. Now go to the front desk and make an appointment in six weeks to come and see me and we will discuss things further.

WHAT?!?!?…… after a year we changed hospitals. We luckily went to an amazing hospital with doctors that seemed to care for us. We then got told she also had epilepsy, microcephaly, among other things. They persuaded us to get a peg fitted which I must add is the best decision I have made.

Paige is now 11yrs; she has been in two medicated comas over Christmas and New Year. She has suffered from kidney failure due to contracting ecoli and ended up on dialysis. She has had millions of pneumonias. She went through a stage with one of her seizures that she would stop urinating, so I had to learn to catheterise her. I can deep suction with my eyes closed. Blood tests I have done. You name it – to the point the doctors said I needed to train to be a doctor.

Our lives have never been the same. Her biological father and I are divorced. I hate to say this is due to Paige because it wasn’t her fault, but due to the pressure of what happened and happens now.

I am luckily with a close friend that helped and understood everything and we are now married. But it still puts pressure on us too. My children suffer; they love her so much that it hurts them to see what she has to go through.

There was one stage for years that Paige would seizure on my daughter Tylers birthday every year. One year we were out bowling and we ended up having to call an ambulance. I left with Paige while we dropped all of her friends off at their homes, the sleep over was cancelled. But no one ever sees all that. DO THEY…………….

It took 2 years to be told that we could apply for ACC, so we started the applications. This took a few years to get (surprise surprise). I was also fighting the Health and Disabilities Commission to have something done about the midwife. They opened their investigation and took years to investigate to be told they couldn’t find fault in the midwife. So she continued to practice.

We then got awarded ACC (if you can call it that). This was one of the most horrible experiences of my life dealing with them and being told ACC is not a cash cow. REMEMBER THAT.

Anyway years later I had forgotten all about the Health and Disabilities Commission. It was then that they contacted me and said they were re opening Paige’s case due to some evidence and other situations that had arisen. I later found out a couple of babies had died under her care due to the midwife’s negligence. We then got told they found her neglectful in Paiges birth and Paige suffered injuries due to that.

The midwife was ordered to write me a letter of apology.

Which I never received.

Donna

Red Flags

        RED FLAGS

  • Lack of monitoring
  • “Normalising” the abnormal
  • Lack of action/delay in getting emergency care
  • Going over due date
  • Failure to progress in labour
  • Meconium-stained liquor (waters)
  • Lengthy handover during emergency
  • Inconsistent reporting and documentation
  • Your concerns being ignored

    Click here to read more about common warning signs


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