‘I held his body for two days’
BY THE time Michelle Whelan got to hold her baby boy, it was too late.
Axyl-Jaxson was already dead and his body badly bruised, which Ms Whelan claims was as a result of her treatment at two New South Wales public hospitals.
The Macquarie Fields mum believes she had been in active labour for six days before her son was stillborn by caesarean section at Campbelltown Hospital on May 6.
At one point she said even a paramedic tried to convince staff at Liverpool Hospital to accept their patient because of the amount of what appeared to be amniotic fluid in their van on the way.
Ms Whelan said she presented to both hospitals three times in six days with "obvious signs" of labour but because she was only 31 weeks they would not usually accept patients that early unless they needed to.
She said despite her excruciating pains and fevers during the six days, after the baby's heartbeat was checked and an amniotic fluid test done - which reportedly did not come up positive - she was sent home.
"I got told I wasn't a priority because there was other women in more severe circumstances," Ms Whelan said.
"They told me he was fine. They checked for amniotic fluid but they couldn't tell me what it was, just that it was watery discharge.
"I got told it was pretty much all in my head, my baby wasn't a priority because of the age and other women were in front of us."
Ms Whelan again presented to Campbelltown and said it took five hours to see a doctor and her "contractions" had gone from seven minutes apart to four minutes.
She said water had been gushing everywhere and her baby's heart rate had spiked from 130 beats per minute to 183 but was told the change was because she moved, and again was sent home.
At 3am she said she felt a really big movement and "didn't feel anything after that".
When she arrived back at Liverpool Hospital she said she was 5cm dilated, in foetal distress and haemorrhaging.
She said it was not until 11pm that night that her baby was finally delivered and found to be stuck shoulder first.
"As far as they're concerned my baby shouldn't be dead," she said.
"They should never have let me go, my baby would have had a chance.
"My baby was born bruised, I held his tiny body for two days telling him how sorry I was I couldn't get him help.
"I just want to make sure this never happens to another poor mum seeking help for their baby."
Ms Whelan is awaiting the results of an autopsy and said a critical incident report had been raised for Campbelltown hospital and a formal complaint for Liverpool hospital.
A South Western Sydney Local Health District spokesperson said they would like to extend their most sincere condolences to Ms Whelan during this difficult time, and were investigating the matter.
"High-risk pregnancies require management by specialist doctors and midwives, and
individualised management plans are developed for all patients," they said.
"Birth plans are also discussed and C-sections are recommended when medically necessary.
"Patients are medically assessed by specialist staff in the birthing unit and are discharged after a full assessment and medical review.
"We are providing support to Ms Whelan, and will continue to do so."