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My personal Queen Mary experience

  1. #1
    ladypilot is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Discovery Bay

    My personal Queen Mary experience


    I just wanted to contribute my own QMH experience for anyone who might want a little insight. Of course there are women's past experiences that range from excellent to awful. Here's some background info about me: my water broke 4 weeks early, I am Korean-American (lived in HK for about 3 years, cannot speak Cantonese) and this was my first baby. My son was born on 7th November. Basically I divide it into 3 parts:
    1) I was admitted in the pre-labor ward,
    2) then I had an emergency Cesarean,
    and lastly 3) admited to the post delivery ward.
    Oh, and 4) the neonatal department.

    Pre-labor and post delivery wards:
    Things that weren't ideal but I could deal with it:

    1. Little privacy. It's a maternity ward, not rooms. About 8 beds per section (this year has been very full! in fact, next month is booked to 200% capacity. yikes!).
    2. The toilets/bathrooms were not the most hygenic (in one of them, there was blood smeared on the tiled wall from the toilet paper holder down to the floor- it was there during my entire stay. Gross! and this is a hospital!)
    3. If you're not used to the HK culture, the staff can seem very forward, even rude and authoritative.
    4. The food is no better than airplane food but it's sufficient. While I was there, it always consisted of a section of rice, a meat portion that is cooked with a thickened light sauce and one type of steamed veggie.
    5. Many of the staff members don't like you to ask questions; especially the "senior" nurses or doctors. Some of them seemed irritated.

    Pre-labor ward specifics:
    *see my thread on "Do the staff tend to intervene at QMH?"

    Cesarean section delivery:
    The nurses told me that I would go into surgery around 3 or 4pm. I had a couple hours to kill so I listened to my iPOD and practiced my relaxation techniques, visualization, etc. Around 2pm, a nurse came rushing over and told me to "Hurry up!" It's time!, get on the gurney and take off your underwear! Hurry, hurry! You must be quick". I said, "Okay, I'm coming! Let me put my iPOD away." So much for the relaxation exercises! I didn't even have a chance to phone my husband who was planning to be outside the ward (no visitors except visiting hours 12-1pm, 6-8pm). When he arrived around half past 2, he couldn't find me. He used the intercom to try to ask the nurses where I was but all they said was that he had to wait until visiting hours. So, he saw another patient/expecting mother in the hall and asked her if she could go into the ward to see if I was still there! Eventually he found out that I was already in the operating room and a short time afterwards saw a baby being rushed out. He said, "Wait, is that my baby??" They told him to meet them in the neonatal department.

    As for the operation itself, it was like clockwork. You could tell that they've done thousands of them. I have no complaints about this part except one (read on). It was a bit production line but at least I felt safe and trusted them. The anesthesiologist was very good. When I was curious about what was going on (there was a fabric divider so you can't see anything), he answered my questions willingly. Because my son was born preterm, he was rushed to the neonatal department immediately. They showed him to me for about 3 seconds, literally, but I had to turn my head sidways and backwards so I couldn't really see him. After they finished "sewing me up", I spent about 2 hours in the ICU before being discharged to the post delivery ward. The one complaint that I do have is that about a week after my Cesarean, I went to my GP to get my stiches removed. When the GP removed the dressing, I could see in his face his immediate reaction which was not good. He studdered and while nodding his head he said, "Yes, this is the work of QMH....Usually for an incision this size, you'd get 7 stitches; at least 5. It would've only taken a few moments." The surgeons at QM gave me 3 huge stitches!! Only 3! And they didn't align the skin properly so there will be a bad scar. Well, I accpet it but it's a bit annoying when taking "a few moments" to patch me up better would've saved me an big ugly scar. Obviously my GP did not approve.

    Post delivery ward:
    1. Most of the nurses were NOT helpful. Once the anesthesia wore off, I was in pure agony! I couldn't move from my bed- I couldn't move while IN bed (ie:rolling over, sitting up). A few times I called the nurse to ask if she could help me but they pretended not to hear or see me.
    2. Since I hadn't seen my baby yet (except for the 3 seconds in the O.R.), I wanted to get the catheter out so I could go to the neonatal department to meet him (they wouldn't bring him down). I asked a nurse- when would they take it out? and she seemed so annoyed that I even asked. Then she proceeded to tell me that she had to take care of all of the other patients first. I told her, okay that's fine but can you give me an estimation? in an hour, 2 hours, afternoon, evening? And she just kept saying ,"Later, later". After several more hours, a doctor came to authorize the removal of the cathetor. Then another hour went by and a different nurse came over and just yanked it out! and she said, "No pain, no pain!".... yah right!

    **3) okay here is my major complaint:

    THEY WOULDN'T GIVE ME ENOUGH PAIN KILLERS!! The pain medication they gave me was prescribed to take every 4 hours by the doctor. Well, it didn't work very good and it was completely worn off after 2 hours. When I asked the nurse for more, she said, No I can't have it until 2 more hours. So I asked to see the doctor and she told me that the doctors already went home for the day. So I asked, but what about the evening rounds (it was mid-day)? The nurse said that the doctors always do the morning rounds and if they think there is no need for the evening rounds, then they don't do it. She told me I had to wait until the next morning for the doctors morning rounds! So I had to wait 2 more hours, experiencing physical pain from my muscles and uterus being cut open 17 hours earlier. Once the full 4 hours were up, they finally gave me more pain meds which take another 30-40 minutes to take effect. The next time I waited the full 4 hours before asking and the nurse said, "You must wait 10 more minutes for 4 hours." This was totally absurd!! And, at one point I spotted a doctor. I begged the nurse, "Please can I see that doctor over there?" She said no that I could not see him because that doctor was not assigned for my area. I wanted to kill her!

    4. In order for me to get discharged, I had to show that I was passing water. A nurse told me to "Charge food". I didn't understand what she was saying so I said, "pardon?". She said, "Charge food, Charge food!! You understand??" I said, No I don't. She became so furious at me and then pointed at my chart and explained, "You must record your food. Time, amount." Then she just walked off. After a few minutes I realized she was telling me that I must "Chart fluid" not "Charge food". I didn't know what I had to pee in but when I went to the toilet, there was a plastic pitcher in the corner..... for everyone to use!! Now that is not sanitary!! That is disgusting and I was not going to touch it! I just peed and estimated the amount. During that evening around 2:30am, I was just waiting for my 4 hours to be up so I could ask for more drugs. I had to pee so bad but couldn't get up b/c I was in great pain without any pain meds and had to wait. When I called the nurse and asked for the drugs (of course she checked my chart to see if 4 hours were up to the second!) and she looked at something else in the chart and instead of giving me the pain killers, she ordered me to, "You must pass more water!" I said, "Okay, okay." Then she said, "No, okay. Too little. More water!". My response, "Yes, okay, I will pass more water." After she gave me the meds, and 30 more minutes for it to take enough of an effect for me to walk to the toilet, I grabbed that pitcher and peed and peed. It was half filled. Then I took it to the nurse counter and put it in front of that same nurse and asked, "Is this enough?" She put her thumbs up in the air and exclaimed, "Goood, Gooood!".....I swear, this whole experience was like a comedy act! I am not an overbearing person and I am always conscious about my manners and being polite so I don't know why they were treating me this way. Just before I left, I found out that the other women thought that I was a Chinese person who grew up abroad and couldn't speak any Cantonese which I guess is the biggest shame any Chinese could have. Either way, that gives them no right to treat me or anyone like that.

    Anyway, to get to the good part!

    Neonatal Department:
    The one and only thing that made all that unneccessary suffering bearable was that the neonatal department was very good. I wasn't able to see or be with my baby but at least I knew that he was in very good care. Thank God it was different than what I was experiencing in the wards. We brought him home healthy and safe and that is what mattered in the end.:yeah2
    Last edited by rani; 11-23-2007 at 07:00 AM.

  2. #2
    joyofliving is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Hong Kong
    Ladypilot I am glad you and the baby are doing well now. Reading your experience in Queen Mary has made me quite apprehensive about what I might end up facing in February. Till now I have been visiting Tsan Yuk for my antenatal appointments and yes the attitude of the nurses and doctors there is the same- very uncourteous and unresponsive. And yes if you ask them something more than once (Just because you didn’t get it the first time) they get quite upset. One is supposed to do as told, having no say in which doctor to see, when to book the next appointment or whatever else it maybe.

    There are many things about your experience that have me worried: They not informing your husband that they were wheeling you in the Operating Room, not being able to be with your husband outside the visiting hours (I thought one person was allowed to stay with the patient throughout), not having access to a doctor when required, not getting enough pain relief, not stitching up the incision properly thus leaving a unsightly scar, unresponsive/ rude hospital staff and unhygienic toilets.

    Can someone else please please please share their experience too ???

  3. #3
    kerryklose is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    My baby girl was born by emergency c-section last year on March 28. While similar my experience wasn't quite as abbrassive as Ladypilot. This is probably due to the dramatic increase in births over the last year and a half.

    I agree with Ladypilot that the care in the operating theatre works like clockwork and you can help but feel that you are in safe hands but, they are not complacent and do everything by the book. I had the opposite experience in regards to my wound. They stitched it up too tight, which I only found out when they were removing the stitches. This would explain why I couldn't move for the week following the birth. I would see other c-section mothers who were running. The crossed my mind that maybe the pain was in my mind - it wasn't. Nonetheless I have next to no scar, my beauty therapist tells me it is the best scar she has seen. So that is one good thing.

    While this type of treatment from the nurses, especially in regards to pain management, is not acceptable, it is a reflection of just how overworked the nurses are. I'm sure we've all acted differently when under immense stress. This is not to say it is an excuse but, I do think that both publically and privately something has to be done in regards to healthcare staffing numbers etc

    I check myself after a day and a half as I felt I would get much better care and attention at home - I did.

  4. #4
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung
    they CANNOT give you more meds, even if you feel that they have worn off. that would be medical negligence. some people have lower threshold for pain than others, however if they gave you more because you DEMANDED it and then you got seriously ill or passed on to the baby thru bf, then you'd be LIVID that they could be so negligent.

    now, i'm not saying that they are perfect, far from it. my first delivery there was horrendous! but my second was FANTASTIC! throughout my 13 hospitalisations over two pregnancies, i found the nursing staff to be especially helpful and friendly. there was only one time that i EVER found them to be abrupt. later, i discovered the nurse in question to be VERY friendly, she was just having a bad day. i must say though that i found the drs for the high risk team to be A MILLION times better than some of the others.

    please keep in mind that QMH is a TEACHING hospital. you may not always be dealing with a "DOCTOR" and just a student.

    good luck to all, don't be afraid. what comes AFTER the birth is SO much more important than the birth itself! (kind of like what comes after the wedding is far more important than the wedding itself!)

    just my two cents

  5. #5
    Seb's Dad is offline Registered User
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    Dec 2003
    my children were born at the qmh when i went into premature labour at 26 weeks. i cannot say enough for the excellence of the staff, for the precision of the nicu team, etc.

    my stay at the delivery was not ideal. i was admitted three days before labour began and was overwhelmed and scared. the nurses were kind and although there were no comments like, "it's going to be okay" or sympathetic shoulder touching, hand holding, i didn't feel they were abraisive. the language barrier was an issue at times but eventually someone who spoke english would come along and translate.

    the day i went into labour, the nurses actually didn't believe me. the contraction monitor was placed so high up my stomach (so as not to interfere with the hb monitors) that it was incorrectly monitoring the nurse even said, "you have a very low pain threshhold". it was very frustrating to know i was in labour, very premature labour and they were not doing anything.

    however that all changed when they paged my doctor, who arrived with interns and said, "you're in labour". a theatre was booked and although they said my husband could be with me until i was put under, that was a lack of communication, we didn't even get to say goodbye, which was also tough, but the theatre was just too full.

    i am on medication which makes me immune to some painkillers and whatever they gave me after the caesarean and i kept pushing the button and no relief came. that was tough, but not their fault.

    all in all, i don't think i could have had a positive birth experience anywhere because the circumstances were so unfortunate. but the queen mary was very professional. i'm glad its a teaching hospital because kids do get taught from the best there.

    seb's mum

  6. #6
    tikkunolam is offline Registered User
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    Aug 2007
    Hong Kong
    Quote Originally Posted by carang View Post
    they CANNOT give you more meds, even if you feel that they have worn off. that would be medical negligence. some people have lower threshold for pain than others, however if they gave you more because you DEMANDED it and then you got seriously ill or passed on to the baby thru bf, then you'd be LIVID that they could be so negligent.

    please keep in mind that QMH is a TEACHING hospital. you may not always be dealing with a "DOCTOR" and just a student.
    I don't think that it is reasonable to say that LadyPilot could not receive more pain medication unless you know for sure with a medical degree and her condition/vital stats, and chart that she was at the maximum limit of the dosage. What is extremely negligent is that she was not allowed to see another doctor until rounds the following morning. Everybody is different and responds to medication differently. There also might have been an incorrect dosage prescribed. Doctors are not infallible. There could have been complications internally that caused her more pain (and thankfully there wasn't). What happens to any patient who might experience complications between the time period of rounds? Do they suffer or their condition worsen because a doctor is not paged or available?

    Although QMH is a teaching hospital, that is no excuse for substandard care. A teaching hospital means that a patient sees and intern or resident rather than an attending, HOWEVER, the attending must always sign off on the chart. Interns and residents are not given full m.d. status to do what they want without supervision. Teaching hospitals also mean that a patient might be seen or presented as a teaching case. Using the excuse that a person is not seen by a "real doctor" is not what the whole concept of a teaching hospital is about and if anything, the fact that a patient has more eyes looking after him/her should be a benefit.

  7. #7
    capital is offline Banned
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    May 2004
    YOur story about charge food and passing water is hilarious, I just about fell out of my chair laughing!. I am sure it was not funny at the time though!.

    I am a nurse, although I have only worked in canada, my perspective on your pain meds is that if it is ordered every 4 hours then yes they can only give it to you every 4 hours. With the tyoe of meds used it wouldn't likely be any sort of problem to have it 10 minutes early, but rules are rules and they are like that because certain meds in certain cases can be that time sensitive and that is how they reduce med errors, BUT, the nurses should have gotten a change in orders to an different or an additional order, after all there are lots of different pain meds, and if the one you had didn't cut it they could have gotten something different. I am only guessing but I think the reason the didn't was that 1. it takes time to call a dr and get a new order and they may not have had time, and or 2. some dr are irritated by any distruption and give nurses a hard time if they ask for something or bother them. That is not any excuse, as ethically a nurse should advocate for the patient's needs. I don't understand the excuses about the dr's not being around, especially if it is a teaching hospital as there should by lots of residents around to do things like change a med order. It sounds like they just couldn't be bothered to make a phone call.

    YOu can always just leave the hospital too. they can't force you to stay, but you will likely have to sign some forms saying you are leaving against medical advice.

    I think the really pathetic thing about all of this is that you were treated worse because they assumed you were from the mainland. Why is there such an attitude about this?

  8. #8
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung
    of course i don't have a degree. my point was only that the NURSES CANNOT simply give you more meds because you DEMAND IT. that IS negligence. they need permission from a dr to change the meds or increase the dosage.

    i completely agree that they should have found a dr and changed the meds.

    i was in so many times for pain during my pregnancy, but i NEVER had a problem with getting any pain meds, unless i was asking for them early. then, the answer was always, "it's not time yet, sorry"

    as for my point about it being a teaching hospital.... all i was saying was that you may THINK you are dealing with the dr, when in actual fact it is just a med student. i was lucky enough to get to know my drs on the high risk team, so if someone else came over to check me out, i knew that it was a student.

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