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United Christian Hospital - my experience

  1. #1
    cow1 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    United Christian Hospital - my experience


    My wife gave birth in UCH a few weeks ago (June 2015) and I thought it would be helpful to post about our experience for those who are planning to give birth there. I summary:

    The good:

    - the doctors are of a high standard, I suspect mainly trained overseas and for the most part very professional (see below for exception)
    - the nurses are also very good
    - the hospital itself is clean with friendly staff and served by good transport links

    The bad:

    - one doctor we had seemed quite young and, I suspect as a consequence of this, wasn't as knowledgable as I'd have hoped, nor did she have a great bedside manner
    - I wasn't in the hospital when my wife was going into labour and the nurses only called me to inform me she was giving birth about 20 minutes before the baby arrived! However I believe they may have tried earlier, but I'm not quite sure why they couldn't contact me as I had given my mobile phone number to them, which they eventually reached.

    In summary I am very happy with my experience of UCH but I did feel I had to manage the situation somewhat in order to ensure I had my questions answered and that understood the whole process. I can imagine if you are the type of person who is happy to defer to the Dr in all circumstances then you would have a less stressful experience. I would go to UCH again.

    Some background - my wife is a Hong Kong native and I am from the UK. Therefore she speaks fluent Cantonese. I can also communicate in Cantonese on an intermediate level. I'm not sure what difference it would make if you didn't speak Cantonese but obviously it helps in terms of picking up information and clarifying minor misunderstandings. However I am confident that if we didn't speak any Cantonese this would not be a problem as the standard of English exhibited by the staff is very good, as you would expect from Hong Kong. There was a foreign couple at the hospital when we were there and they seemed fine.

    So, the experience...

    My wife had a pretty standard pregnancy and appointments at the hospital in the run up to the birth were regular and up to a standard we were happy with.

    Our baby ended up coming late and near the 42 week mark. My wife was admitted to hospital a few days before the birth for monitoring. The care was good although as a husband you are not allowed to enter the maternity ward outside visiting hours (6pm-8pm - however outside these hours there are lots of seats outside the ward where you can wait, and your partner can come out to sit with you at any time) so I can only judge this from what my wife has told me. She did say a few times the nurses were quite blunt with her, although I expect this depends on the individual nurse and is the same at every public hospital.

    My main negative experience relates to the lack of communication I received as a husband. Given our baby was late the Dr was keen to induce, something my wife and I were not keen on, although we had an open mind. However we did want to discuss this with the Dr as a couple, but it is difficult to catch the Dr and this is made worse by the fact the husband can't enter the maternity ward apart from on an exceptional basis (I suspect this may the case in all hospitals though, so I should emphasise this is not a particular problem with UCH). They did let me in 3 times to talk to the Dr but I had to wait a very long time (in one case around 4-5 hours). However by the second time I was made to feel by one nurse that I shouldn't be in the ward outside visiting hours, despite the fact that my wife and I had a key decision to discuss with the Dr. The Dr, who was quite young, was also very blunt with my wife when discussing inducement. According to my wife she essentially said "if you don't induce at 42 weeks your baby will die". Although I am not a Dr I think this is inaccurate and at the least not the way you should discuss induction with a patient. The Dr did not discuss the pros and cons with my wife. It was only when I insisted on meeting with the Dr that we got the information we wanted. I feel this information should be volunteered by the Dr, rather than it being something you have to really push for. However other Drs were fine.

    In the end my wife was able to give birth naturally, after having a few sweeps (which was quite painful by its nature). This sweep was also accompanied by some type of massage therapy which my wife described as a "life saver" and had nothing but praise for. Essentially it meant that as well as kick-starting the labour there was pain relief in the form of a massage which my wife appreciated a lot.

    Labour was 9 hours, which I missed as it started in the early hours of the morning when I wasn't in the hospital and hadn't been contacted. I did just catch the birth and was allowed in the room during the birth. My wife didn't use an epidural in the end but it was an option. The nurses were very good, friendly and reassuring. No photos are allowed in the room where the birth happens, but afterwards there is the option of taking a photo of the baby when she/he is transferred to the maternity ward, and of course when baby is united with mother in the ward.

    We were both extremely pleased with the post-birth care. Due to a small complication our baby had to be monitored after birth for one day. This means the baby is put in a special unit which mother can visit between 8am and 8pm. Fathers can also visit during these hours except when mothers are breastfeeding. After one day the baby is transferred to the same ward as the mother if everything is fine, which is was (during visits to this ward only 2 people are allowed in at a time). When I visited the baby in the special unit the nurses were very friendly and taught me how to take the baby's temperature, feed the baby and burp the baby. When winding/burping the baby they were very forceful but I was fine with this (they have been doing this for years and I am confortable with not treating the baby too delicately).

    Despite our best planning we somehow neglected to put new born baby clothes in the bag we took to the hospital and the staff were kind enough to let us borrow the hopsital clothes providing we brought them back over the next few days, which was very helpful (I'm not sure whether this is actually permitted officially).

    Note that you cannot charge your phone using the plug sockets in the walll as it is a public hospital, so bring a battery pack if you want to ensure your phone etc. is always charged.

    You get given a number of leaflets on looking after the baby, registering the birth etc. All are available in Chinese and English (although they had run out of a few English leaflets at the time).

    There is a fee of $100 a day.

    There is a canteen open to the public which serves the typical food you would find in Hong Kong. There is also a 7-Eleven.

    You can borrow a wheelchair from the ground floor if needed.

  2. #2
    kamie816 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Hong Kong

    So helpful. Thank you for sharing this!

    cow1 likes this.

  3. #3
    Charmaine1 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2018

    I will be 41 weeks on Sunday and I have an appointment in UCH for induction.. Can say "No" to that when we go there? Will they ask you to stay there until the birth or you can go home and come back when the labor starts?

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