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What would it take to change the system?

  1. #1
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    What would it take to change the system?

    I've been doing a lot of thinking about the hospital system in Hong Kong - I have had two babies at QMH and my 2nd born has been in NICU for two months tomorrow - so I'm no stranger to the hospital system over here. I know a lot of the policies over here are in place post-SARS in order to be cautious not to spread infection - the nurses were telling me that pre-SARS, kids were allowed to visit in the public hospitals, the visiting hours were much longer and they weren't restricted to only two visitors at a time. During SARS, everything got a lot stricter and it never went back to what it was before. That's what one of the nurses told me, not sure if it's true or not...

    Anyway - the visiting hours is neither here nor there to me, but there are two things that "bother" me about NICU...

    1) there is no "kangaroo care". I was "lucky" that our daughter was born at term and we were able to hold her for the first time when she was "only" two weeks old. But I see other parents in there with their preemie babies and they've been in there for nearly as long as us, maybe six weeks, but they've never held their babies. But studies have shown that it's good for the babies to be held skin to skin. I don't understand why, with that evidence, Hong Kong doesn't encourage that practice when most other world-class hospitals do.

    2) there is no milk bank. Again, studies have shown that particularly for preemie babies, breastmilk is much better than formula - so why not encourage some kind of milk bank to help those little ones get bigger and stronger faster??

    The visiting hours are inconvenient, I know, but ultimately it's not that much of a health issues. But the two above issues are something that will likely only improve the "statistics" of the hospital - and I don't get why HK is so far behind the rest of the world in these areas.

    I've been thinking of taking those two issues up with the doctors or the nurses or the hospital, but I don't really know who to talk with. I'd love to be able to get some help or support from other people too - because I know that probably one person won't be enough to change the system...

    Those two issues don't affect me directly - but I've just been watching other parents with their preemies - and I would love to be a part of something that will help other mums in that situation in the future. And you never know whether that might be you in the future - it could happen to any of us...

    So any thoughts? ideas? suggestions?? Anyone ever had a preemie baby in HK? What were your thoughts? Or am I just looking at it from "Western" eyes and maybe local parents don't value the same things as I do?

  2. #2
    KathyKitzis is offline Registered User
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    Hi Nicole,

    I would definitely support you in asking for things in "the system" to be changed. I had twins at 32 weeks and was not able to hold them even though they were able to be bathed. I have since studied a lot about the benefits of touch especially in premmies and can't believe that QMH does not explain how parents can best help their babies.
    I was also in the hospital for ten weeks on bed rest so was very frustrated with the visiting hours and I don't believe that the restrictions should be placed on husbands. It can be a very lonely stressful place if you are alone for 21 hrs a day, especially if you think you will lose a child or as was the case with some women I met there, have lost a child.
    It's very hard not to get angry with the staff sometimes, but at the end of the day it is "the system" and it seems daunting to try to change it as one person, but maybe if enough of us got together we could try to open them up to some new ides.

    Hope your baby is well and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. #3
    carang's Avatar
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    i think you would have to approach the hospital authority rather than the hospital itself. these rules are handed down from "on high" and so the hospital has very little say in the matter, the doctors even less.

    good luck!

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    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Nic... Is there a local member of parliament you can approach? I would write in to the hospital authority too.
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

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    FutureHKmom is offline Registered User
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    Just curious, but what's the reason that they don't allow preemies to be held by their parents for so long? Before you contact anyone - it may be useful to understand why they have such policies and then argue against the reason for those policy rather than just argue against the policy. Does that make sense?

    As for milk bank - I myself am very pro-breasfeeding and wouldn't imagine feeding my child anything else for the first at least 6 months and hopefully up to a year of their lives (did so for 11 months with my first child and hope to do so for a year with my second) - but the reason why there is no milk bank probably has to do with the fact that I don't think the majority of Hong Kongers (i.e. the locals) would use it. I don't think that locals would go for the idea of feeding their child someone else's breastmilk. It's just not part of the local culture. That doesn't mean that people don't think breasfeeding is good - I think they would just have a hard time giving someone else's breastmilk to their child.

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    nicolejoy's Avatar
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    FutureHKmom - my husband said the same about locals probably not wanting to feed a baby someone elses breastmilk, but I thought surely if their baby was born at 28 weeks and they were told that the chances that the bub would make it were only about 50% (I think that's the right statistic), surely they'd want to do ANYTHING to make that statistic better?? I don't know - again I know I'm looking at it from my Western point of view... I can understand people not wanting to feed their perfectly healthy three month old someone else's breastmilk, but a sick preemie who needs every chance he can get??

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    Gataloca's Avatar
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    I went to antenatal classes at UCH, and there, they do encourage skin to skin contact and breastfeeding. As I delivered in at Union Hospital instead, I don't really know how supporting they really are... But in Union Hospital, they don't do that. I had my baby through C-section, and after the birth, I didn't get to see him again till the next day, when I was able to get down from bed and go to the nursery room to breastfeed him. Of course, as I was in a private room, I could room in with him and do the skin contact by my own.

    About milk bank, I do agree with FutureHKmom. I think HK people would probably prefer to give their babies formula rather than someone else's milk. Also, even when the government is promoting breastfeeding, I don't think the percentage of people that really breastfeed is that high. The other day I was in a elevator when I overheard the conversation of some women saying how the babies nowadays are much smarter than years ago because of the formula. Probably they just saw too many advertisements about formula on TV, magazine, and everywhere. And also due to my recent blocked ducts problem, I went to see the lactation consultants from the public Maternal and Child Health Center, and there weren't really that many people learning to breastfeed, or having problem with breastfeeding. I am also surprised that there are so few private lactation consultant available in Hong Kong.

  8. #8
    FutureHKmom is offline Registered User
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    Nicole....hmmm....that's an interesting question you pose....knowing locals, I think they would need a doctor to actively tell them that giving BM to a preemie would greatly increase their chances of surviving. I'm just not sure that the culture for that exists in HK....

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