On Tuesday, August 18th, 2020 is the day my life changed and I will never forget.
On this day I entered the Princess Margaret Hospital Maternity Ward with an elevated pulse, strong contractions and intense labor pains. I sat on a waiting bench from 10 pm until 12:30 am, screaming out to any and every one for urgent medical assistance.
A nurse came out after some time and told me to sit she will come to me shortly. I needed to use the restroom, however, that same nurse said I cannot use the restroom in the maternity ward.
Therefore, I was forced to walk in pain a great distance away to the bathroom past the entrance to the Accident & Emergency ward. I recalled vividly the security guard saying, “wow, miss, they have you walking far like this, they cold, hey.” When I went to the restroom, I realized that I began to bleed.
Upon arriving back to the maternity ward, I knocked on the door again. At this point, my breathing was heavy and labored. I asked the nurses again for help as I couldn’t breathe. They replied, “getting to you now”. Finally, two and a half hours later, a doctor came and got me. At this point, I was so weak that I began to throw up.
They said they are waiting on a nurse to write up my notes. It was hard to comprehend the length of time that this took as I was hospitalized previously in the same maternity ward a week earlier.
The aforementioned hospital stay was for a week as I had a ruptured membrane, in laymen’s terms my water bag had burst. Consulting with my private doctor this was a common thing with twin pregnancies.
I couldn’t fathom why it took so long to update my credentials when I was at the hospital such a short time ago. They began to ask me questions about my pregnancy, information they had in my notes a week ago as I was writhing in pain.
I was informed that, based on what I presented, I needed to have a chest scan done. The scan took one hour to get done. Everything seemed to have been moving in slow motion. As time pressed agonizingly forward, I had become so nauseated and vomited on the floor.
The technicians came to conduct the scan, but the nurses stopped them so that the cleaning persons could come and thoroughly sanitize before the scan could start. I cried out in pain, “please, please help me”. The labor contractions became so unbearable and more frequent, less than a minute between occurrences.
Almost five hours later, I was taken to the theatre at 2:43 am. I was told that I would be placed under general anesthesia to perform a cesarean section. My only reply was to please do everything to and save my babies.
Hours later, I woke up to hear the lady and a mass choir of nurse singing in the background to tell me the kids did not make it. This broke my spirit and I lost my fight. I blacked out and came back and then they came to show me my twin baby boys. The bruises on their lips were evidence of a fight. I was devasted that I came there and my babies were alive and now they were not.
After the surgery, I was admitted to the antenatal ward where I was told that my breathing got worse. I was then brought to take another scan and I was transferred to Intensive Care Unit because my breathing had deteriorated on Wednesday 19th August. While there I was placed in isolation as I was told that I had been tested postpartum for COVID-19.
Allegedly, my symptoms were synonymous with someone who contracted the virus. My test results came back negative, but the treatment that I received in the most critical care unit in the hospital was appalling. I was receiving treatment for COVID-19 with a negative test.
As a result, my physical treatment was terrible. Some of the nurses were very cold and insensitive to the fact that I had just lost 2 children and was now battling for my life. There was one particular nurse who felt so bad for me on day 3, she finally went downstairs late in the night and got a few items from my husband who came there relentlessly to bring me necessities.
The hospital staff said they didn’t have any pillows, toilet paper, sterile cups to make tea, but I was denied the items from others bringing the items. I was unable to get assistance readily due to the fear of me having COVID-19 (with two NEGATIVE TESTS).
I had been given breathing assistance and had been treated for fluid being around my heart and lungs. I was not aware of such treatment until August 21st when my family and friends were relentless in calling and asking for updates.
A doctor was forthcoming with information on why I was in ICU and what I was being treated for. She informed my husband in a lengthy conversation after he had been inquiring about my status for some time.
As outsiders are not allowed in the hospital, he made calls to ICU feverishly. My husband and family were inquiring about the possibility of utilizing the air ambulance and transferring me out of the country to a hospital in America.
She did not reject the idea; however, she did reassure them that in ICU there was everything I needed to recover from my situation. She was very professional and informative. She was also very concise and sensitive to the primary reason as to why I originally came to PMH. I came to the hospital for pre-term labor at 26 weeks gestation.
Prior to this, I had been seen by a myriad of doctors with no update or prognosis. My husband and family had not been made abreast of my situation and calls to the ICU proved useless.
My ICU state was unsatisfactory. On August 20th It was apparent to me that the nurses were unable or afraid to do their job as medical professionals in caring for sick people.
They were hesitant in coming to my room to give me care (even after being aware of my negative COVID-19 test result). When I needed assistance, I had to call PMH switchboard on 322-2861, then the operator transferred me to ICU so that I could speak with the nurse that was posted right outside of my room door (bearing in mind my room faced the reception area I could see the nurse answering the phone).
I had done this numerous times including after midnight. My calls were to request assistance in moving as I laid in one spot for long periods with no aid. When my calls did not work, I resorted to removing the pulse monitor to attract some assistance.
I also began banging on the bed for someone to help me. To my surprise, the nurse assistance button had been disabled. This makes one wonder whether this was done intentionally, otherwise how do patients get the attention of the nurses.
I was told that I was able to begin fluids, but the nurses impeded this as they said that they were not aware of the same. I had not eaten, nor drunk anything for two days. I begged for tea, or to have a colleague of mine (another nurse) to bring me a vitamalt beverage.
One particular nurse on ICU prohibited the vitamalt after the doctor who was giving me primary care approved the beverage. The head nurse was extremely rude, when my husband called to inquire why they were impeding my fluids, she hung up on him.
The nurses were very hesitant with assisting me. Even when they learnt of my 2nd NEGATIVE COVID-19 TEST, they continued to treat me poorly. I could only imagine the treatment of maternity patients who were indeed verified as covid-19 positive.
The recent story aired by Our news, compelled me to tell my story as the 20-year-old who died was unable to tell hers.
I was relieved when a male doctor arrived on the 21st to ICU and exclaimed to everyone, that I was not a COVID-19 patient. Once this was made clear to the nurses, I was taken off the treatment that they were giving me for COVID-19. Once this was done, my alleged weak heart resolved itself and I was taken off assisted breathing.
I was cleared to go to back to the post-natal ward. Imagine, after having a cesarean section on August 19th, on August 24th (5 days later) while in the gynecologist ward my incision was finally checked.
My dressings were never tended to nor changed while in ICU. My incision had been badly neglected and was found to be releasing fluids which is currently being dealt with by a private physician.
The gynecologist ward was hot, the air-condition was not working. The patients and the staff were using anything to fan themselves. The technician came twice and said he was trying to fix air-condition system.
Moreover, there was no hot water in the ward and the ward was not cleaned properly. I told my family it is lack of pride. The cleaners ran a dirty mop over the floor when the ward needed detailed deep cleaning. In addition, a patient at 12 midnight asked for her meds, the nurse replied “I’m the only person giving meds”.
Apparently, she felt slighted because the patient said she had a bad attitude. The nurse withheld her meds until almost 1 am out of spite.
The treatment of maternity patients in Princess Margaret Hospital is absolutely terrible. I witnessed the mistreatment of women and I also endured six days of hell and lived to tell the story.
Senior management has no idea what the situation is at the hospital. People are dying due to lack of care. In particular, women who have come to give birth. I was poorly treated and neglected after having been found to be COVID-19-free. I am using my voice for ladies who died in silence and alone.
The day I came out I heard of 3 mothers who died, one after the next, with no voice. I feel it’s my purpose to let their voice be heard, to speak on behalf of the mother I watched who spoke her daughter’s last words.
Prior to my admittance at PMH, I was under private medical care but had gone into labor prematurely and was told to go to the hospital where the above fiasco and unfortunate loss of my babies occurred. I went to the states to a specialist for the babies but had to return as the US customs needed me to get some documentations to return.
Not to mention having my life threatened, I am grateful to be alive. Someone needs to be held accountable for the losses that occurred due to neglect and malpractice at PMH. I would regard this as a case of gross neglect of medical professionalism with reckless abandonment.
Imagine I went into the hospital with a NEGATIVE COVID TEST and received another NEGATIVE TEST while in the hospital and was treated as such. Imagine what my fellow people with no support system and positive tests are being treated.
I am pleading to the general public to be safe, as to go to the hospital is to accept a fate of despair.
Kayla Edwards Dean