Hospital maternity warnings

CRAMMED into the back of an ambulance speeding up the highway to Brisbane, Lea Coleman knew her son was going to die.

The young mother was taken from Murwillumbah to Brisbane, needing emergency treatment for her twins which she claims neither Murwillumbah District Hospital or The Tweed Hospital could provide at the time.

While Nara, now two years old, survived, brother Ben sadly passed away due to complications.

And now Mrs Coleman, co- founder of the Murwillumbah Multiples mothers' group, fears other mothers might go through the same tragic experience as the North Coast Area Health Service continues its trial of transporting high-risk maternity cases from Murwillumbah to Tweed Heads.

Mrs Coleman, who also has children Sage, 10, and Arden, 12-months, vividly remembers her own terrible transport story when she went into labour with the twins.

“They were going about 170 kilometres an hour and I was stressing out because I knew my son was going to pass away,” she said.

Nara was later placed in The Tweed Hospital because Murwillumbah did not have the facilities to care for her, and Mrs Coleman had to travel there every day to breastfeed her.

She said most multiple pregnancies are high risk, and just about all the Murwillumbah Multiple members have been in a helicopter or ambulance at one time.

“You want your baby to be safe and yourself to be safe,” Mrs Coleman said.

When operating its full services Mrs Coleman said the Murwillumbah hospital avoided families from being put at risk.

“The focus needs to be on every mother giving birth, and obstetricians need to be there if you just happen to walk in the door at Murwillumbah at 5.30pm,” she said.

“There's no reason why women choosing to have birth in Murwillumbah shouldn't be able to.”

A NCAHS spokesperson told the Tweed Daily News on Tuesday full birthing services may not be returned to normal on Monday as scheduled, and said the services are still subject to negotiations with the hospital's GP obstetricians, who quit in outrage over the issue recently.

But Arwen Carroll, another member of the Murwillumbah Multiples group, says she finds it difficult to understand why the NCAHS is continuing with the trials, saying it puts the lives of babies and mothers at risk.

Ms Carroll delivered all her children, including her twin sons, at the Murwillumbah hospital and said if these restrictions were in place at the time she would have been transferred while in labour for all of the births except one.

Ms Carroll's “double the fun” boys were delivered via caesarean section at the Murwillumbah hospital seven months ago.

“If that had been now I would have been transferred,” Ms Carroll said.

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