Mum’s 23 hours of hell
A MOTHER says she was traumatised by a lack of care and separation from her baby during a 23-hour emergency room "horror ordeal" at Tweed Hospital.
Clinicians who have spoken out during the Heal Our Hospital campaign, claim the hospital's Emergency Department is at breaking point, treating more patients than St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney with a fraction of the staff and beds.
Now Canberra psychologist Arwen Mow-Lowry has claimed she was denied "basic first aid" and then a bed in the maternity unit in the over-stretched unit.
Her ordeal began on April 20 when, at her mother's West Tweed home, she fell down a set of steps while holding her baby and broke her left leg in five places.
She said an ambulance took 30 minutes to arrive but did not take six-month-old Sebastian, who hit his head on the concrete. Sebastian travelled with his grandmother in her car instead.
Mother and baby were admitted about 8.30pm and an orthopaedic surgeon said Mrs Mow-Lowry's leg was to be iced and elevated by three pillows to be ready for surgery.
It is claimed two hours later she was told "there was only one pillow in ED" and no ice until 11am the next day.
"Her legs swelled overnight, sufficient that a nurse had cut open her half-cast in the night and her surgery had to be delayed for four days," her mother Karen Mow said.
Discharged from Emergency, Mrs Mow-Lowry said she was promised a bed in the maternity ward, where she could breastfeed her baby under observation, but it never eventuated.
"He wouldn't take his formula, and I was worried about him not getting enough food," she said.
Mrs Mow-Lowry said her painkilling medication was not working and she did not receive any food until 2.30pm. At 5pm her family made the decision to transfer her to John Flynn Private Hospital.
"It was just 23 hours of hell," she said.
The Northern NSW Local Health District declined to make any comment.