Sunday, September 28, 2008

Disgraceful Conditions

A disturbing story in a Welsh newspaper looks at a group of women who were so traumatised by their experience at a flagship maternity hospital that they have decided not to have any more children. Reports include women being left to give birth in corridors because of a shortage of beds, being discharged from hospital too soon after a complicated delivery and being left unattended for hours whilst overstretched midwives struggle to operate in 'Third World' conditions.

In the course of my pro-life work, I have come across an alarming number of cases of women who have been traumatised by birth experiences that very nearly killed them and their babies. One woman spoke of being sent home from a crowded hospital in early labour - paramedics were called to her house shortly afterwards to find that her husband had had to deliver the baby on their living room floor. Another was sent home, frightened and in terrible pain, only to be told by a midwife at the end of the phone that the heavy bleeding she was experiencing was 'probably just a show'.

Britain's overcrowded, understaffed maternity hospitals are becoming a national disgrace. It is simply unacceptable that a country as wealthy and developed as the UK should be putting the lives of women and babies at risk by failing to provide basic care. The tragedy of women dying in childbirth belongs among the pages of a Victorian novel, not in an age of advanced obstetric care.