No room in Auckland for mother and baby
Fri, 27 Jan 2012 6:10p.m.
By Michael Morrah
An Auckland mother is calling for a review of hospital services after she and her prem baby were told to leave town.
Hospitals in Auckland have run out of space, and the baby and another one were flown to Tauranga Hospital today. Sieumuoi Hancock's baby was one of two rushed by helicopter to Tauranga Hospital today.
The babies had to be taken there because all four neonatal units are facing a rare problem - they're all full.
John Hancock was born six weeks prematurely just four days ago.
His mother assumed he would be cared for at Auckland Hospital's neonatal unit where her family could visit, but this morning she was told they'd need to leave for Tauranga.
"It's distressing," she says. "I've just had a baby a few days ago, had a C-section and I'm trying to recover, and here I am stressed out and I'm being moved.
"All I want is to be close to my family and my support."
Auckland hospitals are facing a rare dilemma. All four neonatal units at Auckland, North Shore, Waitakere and Middlemore are well over 100 percent capacity.
"It's very unusual," says assoc professor Frank Bloomfield, neonatal consultant.
"Transfer of babies within Auckland to a DHB where a family live is common because we want to get them closer to home. But to transfer a baby out of Auckland is very uncommon."
"I can't believe all of them are full up," says Ms Hancock. "It's ridiculous. Where are all our taxpayers dollars going to?
"I don't know why I can't stay in Auckland and look after my baby."
This afternoon, Ms Hancock's baby was taken by helicopter to Tauranga, along with another infant.
She had to travel by ambulance.
"That's just not right," she says. "Mums like me should not be getting moved around."
Staff don't have a specific explanation for why the units are so busy, but say around the world prem births are increasing.
"Maternal age of delivery is increasing," says Prof Bloomfield. "We know the use of assisted reproduction techniques is also increasing and that increases pre-term births."
The last time all four neonatal units were full was several years ago. Hospital staff say it's a concern, but safety is its priority and that means it's possible more babies will need to be transferred out of Auckland in the coming days.
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20/03/2012 9:54:19 a.m.
Healthy mother's should learn how to deliver there baby at home, lots of baby were deliverd at home and were healthy and kicking.. I prefer to deliver my baby at home, its nothing wrong in that, just have all you need before hand..
Doctor or maturnity nurse if needed, try it out' its fun..
30/01/2012 12:04:15 p.m.
I think this has been taken way to far! The baby was obviously well enough to be moved! Im currently in NICU with my twins born 14weeks early, I live4hours out of Auckland? Count yourself lucky!
30/01/2012 10:48:51 a.m.
I was a premature baby born in 1979, when there was no NICU or PICU, and I can only imagine what the families are going through that have had to be moved, however there are cases that are a lot more urgent than most, hence the reason mothers and babies have to be moved. some of these babies are probably on a waiting list for the heart ward in starship hospital and are waiting till they are well enough to be moved and operated on or they have just left the heart ward and are currently in the the recovery stages of their major ordeal, some maybe in these units because they are not gaining weight, but I assure all whom have commented about mr and mrs hancocks plight that hospital staff are doing their best to ensure safety for all patients alike, like moving some patients to another hospital.
28/01/2012 9:12:37 p.m.
Dwayne Hancock wrote:
I am the husband/father of the mother and child mention in this story. Firstly I would like to thank people for the messages of support in this difficult time for my family.
Some people may have misinterpreted the intention behind this story.
My wife and I have huge appreciation for the support and care we received at Auckland Hospital. The staff in NICU and from AOC are to be commended on the job they do for families of a prem baby.
Sieumuoi was admitted to hospital last Sat morning (21/1) she was in labour until she had a C Section on Tues morning. Our little John was born 6 weeks early weighing 2.49kg
Mum and baby spent until yesterday resting and bonding. I received a phone call from Sieumuoi in tears yesterday lunchtime informing me they were being shifted to Tauranga at 2.30pm, not enough time for me and our 20 month daughter to visit her at the hospital. My wife hasn't seen our daughter since Tuesday as she picked up a stomach virus so was kept away from the hospital.
The staff encouraged us to complain about the process - hence my wife called TV3.
We are happy to relocate if that means other prem babies are given the best possible chance as well, and I would hope that families currently in Auckland NICU's realise the sacrifice other mums and babies have to make for the good of others. At present I am unable to travel to Tauranga until Tuesday at the earliest. Anon(previous post) the fact you are still able to visit your partner and child is because of people like Sieumuoi, we no longer have the privilege your new family is enjoying.
But never mind will be what it will be. We have a new addition to our family and mum and John are doing well.
I congratulate Sieumuoi for having the guts to share her pain and anguish on national TV so that the public is aware of a potential weakness in our health care system.
We miss them lots but look forward to being reunited soon.
28/01/2012 12:18:11 a.m.
Rebekah Lamb ........... emotional irrational ........ whining, my god what are you, this lady has every right to complain .
27/01/2012 11:22:47 p.m.
you hear about this but you dont hear about the other stories, my aunty was 11 weeks premature with her baby and had to be sent to wellington hospital from hamilton hospital cause there were no neonatal available, and this happened yesterday
27/01/2012 11:18:26 p.m.
Boo hoo hoo, where's my little violin? Little Jaffa has to leave Auckland to go to some scary unfamiliar place to go to hospital. Everyone else has to do the same - often non-Jaffas have to go to scary Auckland to go to hospital - a lot scarier than the other way round.
27/01/2012 10:03:57 p.m.
My baby is currently one of those babies in neonatal care. He is well looked after despite the constraints of space and staff. I see and hear the staff every day and they are pushed to their limits. But they are amazing. For this lady to complain that her baby has been moved to another city. Be greatful that you get free amazing healthcare that will send your baby to another hospital because they are literally unable to care for anymore children rather than being fobbed off. This makes me incredibly angry.
27/01/2012 10:03:38 p.m.
well obviously Rebekah you haven't been through the trauma of having a prem BB, C-section and having to be rushed to another hospital just days after ! I completely understand what this poor woman is going through and despite the excellent medical care in NZ and the fact that her BB is probably going to be OK I still think that no matter what once you delivered your BB somewhere you should be entitled to stay in that same hospital. There is enough stress and strain just to have a prem BB and C-section. Same happened to me 2 years ago.
27/01/2012 9:48:57 p.m.
I totally agree Rebekah! To much taking for granted going on! I think people should appreciate what they get given...
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