More parents come forward with stories of ‘horror’ births and ‘chaotic’ care at troubled maternity unit that saw pregnant mothers begging for pain relief as NHS bosses apologise
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Megan Mayes has hit out at the ‘disgusting’ aftercare she received from staff
- Her catheter was accidentally ripped out just hours after giving birth to Noah
- Holly Lindley claimed she was only given paracetamol by midwives on the ward
- Jessica Rastall said treatment left her with ‘a non-existent pelvic floor muscle’
More parents have come forward to tell their stories about ‘horror’ births and the ‘chaotic’ care they received on a South Yorkshire maternity unit in recent years.
Seven thousand babies a year are born at the maternity unit at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, which was rated inadequate both last month and in 2021.
Shortly after a report was made public, three mothers spoke about their ‘scary’ experiences on the Jessop Wing.
One woman said she feared for her baby’s life, while another said she was left begging for pain relief.
Their brave testimonies encouraged even more concerned parents to tell their stories, which include allegations of understaffing, patients in pain being ignored for hours and claims that staff missed signs of mums going into labour.
One mum said the aftercare she received was ‘disgusting’. Another claimed her hospital room was left looking ‘like a horror film’ and covered in blood following a traumatic birth.
A spokesperson for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘We are very sorry.’
The Trust’s chief nurse acknowledged ‘we can do more’ and added that improvements have been made since the CQC inspection, including the recruitment of more midwives and support staff.
Megan Mayes has slammed the ‘disgusting’ care she received on the Jessop Wing when she gave birth to her son Noah
Teaching assistant Megan Mayes gave birth to her first child in October 2021, but she has hit out at the mixed messages she received from staff and the ‘disgusting’ aftercare she received, which saw her catheter accidentally ripped out just hours after giving birth.
The 21-year-old was fraught with worry after complications arose during her pregnancy.
She spent weeks in hospital after her blood pressure shot up and subsequent tests showed her baby was no longer growing.
Megan was told to take medication every four hours, but she claims she often went far longer than this without a dose despite regularly asking junior doctors for tablets.
‘It was worrying because they said I might have a stroke, but they didn’t give me the medication,’ said Megan.
‘I was getting really frustrated but I felt like something wasn’t right. I was concerned for my health and my baby’s health.’
The 21-year-old was fraught with worry after complications arose during her pregnancy
At 36 weeks pregnant, Holly Lindley was told to go into hospital after waking up in the night in pain.
Despite being sick and suffering from ‘horrific pain’, she claimed she was only given paracetamol by midwives on the ward who kept telling her she wasn’t in labour.
More than 12 hours after she first arrived on the Jessop Wing on November 1, 2020, Holly went to the bathroom on her ward when she was hit by a ‘horrific’ pain.
Holly Lindley with her son Otis shortly after he was born on the Jessop Wing in November 2020
‘I was getting redressed when I had this moment of panic thinking I was going to give birth on the bathroom floor,’ said 25-year-old Holly from Maltby, Rotherham.
A midwife came to help her and found she was 10cm dilated. Within minutes, she was rushed onto the labour ward and her son Otis was born just two hours later.
‘It was just a massive sense of confusion for me,’ she said. ‘It was a horrible experience.
‘I did have gas and air for the very last part of my labour before I started pushing, but that was the only real pain relief I had. I needed more. I wasn’t given any options for pain relief at all.’
Holly has claimed ‘there weren’t enough staff around’ and the midwives who were there seemed ‘stressed out’.
‘I just wanted more attentiveness and for them to talk to me about what I was feeling and what my symptoms were,’ she said.
She was then kept on the ward for five days after giving birth, with little communication about why she wasn’t allowed home.
A doctor finally signed her discharge form at 9am on the fifth day, but she wasn’t let go by the midwives until 4.30pm.
‘That was torturous for us,’ said Holly. ‘All I wanted to do was get home.
‘I found the labour ward to be really good, but I had issues with the day ward and the post-natal ward.
‘For women in South Yorkshire, what options have they really got? There has been no improvement.’
Megan said several members of staff repeatedly told her she did not need to be induced, but she claimed a senior doctor completely disagreed when she assessed her many days later.
She was told she would need to go into labour, which meant her baby would be born premature at just 35 weeks.
‘The senior doctor said he didn’t understand why the junior doctors had said what they said. I was told my baby was fine and the next minute I was told he needed to come out.
‘I was just worried about everything. It was really daunting and it was so stressful because I was told a billion different things in one day.
‘It was scary and if it wasn’t for that senior doctor saying we needed to get him out, I dread to think what might have happened.’
Within two hours of the senior doctor’s decision, Megan had given birth to her baby boy, Noah.
Due to concerns about his health, he was delivered by C-section and within minutes of being born, he was whisked away to the ICU.
‘My partner got to hold him for about two minutes and then he was taken straight away,’ said Megan.
‘I got to see him for a minute. I didn’t even really know what he looked like.’
It was eight hours before Megan was allowed to see Noah again, but the nightmare experience didn’t end there.
As she was taken to the ICU in a wheelchair to see her son, her catheter was ripped out.
‘I had a rush of blood down my leg,’ said Megan. ‘It was horrific. I felt the burn of pain when it was ripped out.
‘My partner had to clean me up. It wasn’t even the nurse who cleaned me up.’
The next day, Megan was left suffering in ‘horrific’ agony despite asking for pain relief.
‘The pain was so bad,’ said Megan. ‘I was crying I was in that much pain.
‘I just felt completely alone and there was no one coming to help me. It was horrendous.
‘I was still on lots of medication every four hours, but they kept forgetting to bring me my medication.
‘They kept saying they were worried I was going to have a stroke or a seizure, but I was left on my own for six hours at a time. Anything could have happened to me.’
Not only was Megan’s catheter ripped out, but it was later discovered that a dirty pad had been left inside her abdomen for two days after the C-section.
‘I was still numb so couldn’t feel it,’ said Megan. ‘They had literally left stuff in me. It was horrible.’
While she described the care for Noah on the ICU ward as ‘amazing’, Megan’s aftercare left her never wanting to return to the Jessop Wing.
‘I would never have a baby there again,’ she said. ‘I would go somewhere else.
‘If I had given birth naturally, both me and Noah would have been at risk of dying.
‘Still to this day I think what would have happened if they had waited to carry on inducing me?
‘I want to spread awareness and I don’t want other women to go through what I went through. It was disgusting.’
Within two hours of the senior doctor’s decision, Megan had given birth to her baby boy, Noah
While many of the mums who have come forward to tell their stories gave birth in the last two years, Jessica Rastall’s first experience of the Jessop Wing was 10 years ago.
She claims the treatment she received has left her with ‘a non-existent pelvic floor muscle’ and she now requires surgery to stop ’embarrassing’ episodes of wetting herself everyday.
Her son Charlie was born on February 29, but her plans for an uplifting story with the national media about him being one of the first 2012 Leap Year babies were quickly shelved after her distressing labour.
Jessica claims the third midwife who looked after her on the Jessop Wing ‘didn’t listen’ and it was only when the fourth midwife arrived shortly before midnight that the extent of her condition was recognised.
Jessica was crowning and she claims she was told her son might have opened his bowels and could have been at risk of swallowing his own faeces.
Within minutes, he was born ‘head and body together’. It left Jessica with severe tears.
More than 12 hours after she first arrived on the Jessop Wing on November 1, 2020, Holly went to the bathroom on her ward when she was hit by a ‘horrific’ pain
‘She [the midwife] told me the baby was coming there and then,’ said Jessica, 42. ‘The bottom of the bed was dropped down and my legs were put in stirrups.
‘She told me to push and Charlie came out that fast I sustained major tears. They were catching blood in a bucket and they had to pull the placenta out.
‘My sister was left holding my baby in a room which she said looked like a horror film and covered in blood.
‘I had lost so much blood that I needed a blood transfusion. It meant I couldn’t breastfeed Charlie due to the complications.
‘We were both very lucky to survive that day,’ claimed Jessica. ‘One of us or both of us might not have survived.
‘To this day, my husband won’t talk about what happened. He didn’t know if his wife was going to come back. He didn’t know if he was going to end up being a single parent.’
While many of the mums who have come forward to tell their stories gave birth in the last two years, Jessica Rastall’s first experience of the Jessop Wing was 10 years ago
A CQC report carried out in 2013, one year after Charlie’s birth, found the Jessop Wing to pass all aspects of a routine inspection.
But Jessica, who now lives in Nottingham, said she has lost ‘all my faith and all trust’ in hospital care.
A decade on from giving birth to her first child, she claims the injuries she suffered have left her with lifelong issues.
She said: ‘I’m waiting to go back into surgery because I have a non-existent pelvic floor muscle. It has always been prominent [since Charlie’s birth].
‘When I sneeze or when I cough I wet myself. It happens on a daily basis. It’s recently become apparent that it’s a serious issue. When I had Covid, I just kept wetting myself.
‘At 42 years old, it’s quite an embarrassment. Thinking everywhere I go: “Where are the toilets”.’
When Jessica read an exposé following the recent CQC inspection, she felt compelled to speak out about what happened to her a decade ago.
Her son Charlie was born on February 29, but her plans for an uplifting story with the national media about him being one of the first 2012 Leap Year babies were quickly shelved after her distressing labour
‘I had every emotion possible that it’s still happening 10 years down the line,’ she said.
‘I was so angry and sad. Knowing everything that is coming out, I just need to say the failings go right back. It is not just happening in Covid.’
Responding to the instances listed above, Professor Chris Morley, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, admitted ‘we can do more’.
In a statement, he said: ‘Reading the experiences these women have had is upsetting and we are very sorry that aspects of their care were not of the standard we would expect.
‘I can assure them and the women coming into Jessop Wing to have their babies that we have already made many of the improvements needed including recruiting more midwives and support staff to provide the important aftercare and support.
‘Our teams work exceptionally hard to provide good care and we receive lots of positive feedback, but we know we can do more, and we are using all the feedback we get to inform this work.
‘If any woman due to give birth at Jessops has concerns or those who have had care would like to give their feedback, either positive or negative, please do call 0114 2715757 and we will be happy to have a conversation.’
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