Scarred for life: First-time Rocky mum's 'hospital nightmare'
"HORRIFIC memories" robbed a first-time mother and father of what they hoped would be their happiest moments.
When David McLintock's and wife Jeraldin's son Claudio decided to come early, the Goovigen couple rushed to the Rockhampton Hospital for a caesarian.
Happy with the seamless operation, it was their maternity-ward experience over the following days which has scarred them to the point they will "take it to their graves".
David claims inconsiderate neighbouring visitors and alleged mistreatment by the midwives and nurses deprived his wife and son of sleep, so much so Jeraldin was ready to "hurt herself" and threatened to "throw herself out of bed in despair" on a number of occasions.
He claims the new family were thrown into "utter chaos" from day one, as about 20 visitors flooded to see the mother and baby in the neighbouring bed, shouting profanities and running around the room.
"None of them made any attempt to keep quiet or show any consideration to my wife," David said.
"The kids were chaotic and all the adult visitors, including the woman in the bed, spoke at the top of their voices and laughed even louder."
The following day, David noticed an empty ward and one with a mother and baby, and demanded his wife switch rooms.
However, he claims the second day was a repeat of the first; seven guests "screamed over a loud television" and again deprived himself, his wife and child of the recovery time they needed.
In an attempt to rest, Jeraldin spent a portion of that night in a makeshift wheelchair bed in the coffee room down the hall.
Pillows and blankets did little to make her comfortable enough to sleep or breast feed, and as the couple entered night four of little to no sleep they feared for their son's safety, momentarily drifting off with newborn Claudio in their arms.
"I got her out of the bed and along with her catheter, I slowly walked her and our baby in his crib, all the way down to the coffee room," David recalled of the night.
"Several times she had to stop and lean against the wall in pain and exhaustion. She would have fallen onto the floor had I not supported her.
"We stayed down in the coffee room for as long as she could waiting for visiting hours to finish so that the room would empty of all the people."
In a lengthy written complaint to the Rockhampton Hospital, and sent to The Morning Bulletin, Mr McLintock claims throughout the stay he repeatedly pleaded with staff to ask visitors "keep it under control and more quiet", only to be refused.
"I also asked her why there was not a time during the day when no visitors were allowed so patients could get some sleep," he said.
"She said that it used to be like that but too many patients became violent when asked to leave.
"I said, 'Who was running the ward, you or the visitors? Surely what is important is the health of the patients, not the happiness of the visitors'."
David said during the whole ordeal he felt "bloody hopeless" and powerless.
He also claims he agreed to a nurse's suggestion his son be formula fed to try and settle him, though he was under the impression this would be discussed with his wife.
Instead, he alleges his son was taken from Jeraldin during the night and formula fed without her permission.
"My wife became hysterical and screamed at them to 'bring my f*****g baby back to me'," he said.
"She screamed this out many times at the top of her voice for the whole ward to hear until the younger midwife went and told the nurse that Jeraldin wanted her baby back.
"The nurse told her that 'your husband had given permission to give him formula'.
"My wife by this time was completely distraught and said she didn't care who said what and to leave her baby with her."
This is another in a series of encounters which David and Jeraldin claim has continued to devastate them and their baby since they returned home on the Friday.
"The effect it had on us, absolutely soul destroying," David said.
"It affected everything... Claudio doesn't sleep, he is always screaming.
"I believe it's all associated back to that experience, you read the different theories on it all, the theory is you need that serenity from birth for everything to work."
David said he hopes to meet with hospital representatives and receive an apology, as well as see better implementation of their hospital procedures as outlined in their handbook to patients.
He believes had hospital staff enforced the visiting procedures, and his family would not have been "traumatised".
Along with a list of visitor conditions, the handbook states "to avoid inconvenience to other patients, visitors should be restricted to two per patient at any one time".
When contacted for comment, Rockhampton Hospital director of nursing and midwifery Sue Foyle said the following:
"I am proud of the team at Rockhampton Hospital Maternity Unit and know our midwives work very hard to provide safe and good quality care to mothers and babies from this district," Ms Foyle said.
"I am sorry to hear Mr McLintock and his wife's experience at Rockhampton Hospital was not what they hoped for.
"I cannot comment publicly on an individual patient's treatment without their signed consent, but when we receive Mr McLintock's complaint we will work with him as part of our established complaints procedure.
"We take complaints very seriously, and sincerely want to improve in areas that need addressing."