TV presenter recalls trolley labour indignity

TELEVISION presenter Colette Fitzpatrick has spoken of the indignity of having her waters broken while on a trolley in a busy maternity hospital despite having private health insurance.

“That day, every time I got upset or panicked, I focused on my little baby and that’s what got me through,” she said.

Having paid €4,000 on top of a large health insurance premium, the TV3 star had hoped her consultant would be with her for the birth and she would get a private room afterwards.

Colette gave birth to her first child, a boy, Milo Peter McDermot, at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, Dublin, on November 18 last.

It was the lack of dignity and privacy of being examined and having her waters broken on a trolley in a corridor that upset her most.

“Private or public care aside, it is an indictment of the shambles of a health system that any woman is forced into a situation like that at a time when they are so vulnerable,” she said.

“When I went into labour and was admitted to the hospital, I sat outside an office, a nightdress and robe in hand, waiting to be brought to a room to be examined before I was brought into a delivery room,” she recalled.

When a young midwife advised they were very busy that day and there was no room available, Ms Fitzpatrick thought she would be taken to another hospital.

She ended up on a trolley outside the delivery ward. She recalled hearing the cries of a newborn baby as she was hooked up to a machine to monitor her contractions and her baby’s heartbeat.

A curtain rail was pulled around the trolley and while her husband stood beside her holding her clothes, her waters were broken.

“Because my baby had a bowel movement inside me, they also had to insert a tiny monitor on his head. All this happened on the trolley; the midwives apologising, my husband doing his best to reassure me.”

Hours later in the delivery room as she was about to give birth, she discovered her consultant was not available. In the end, a registrar delivered her 7lb 10oz baby son by vacuum extraction.

Despite paying private health insurance, Ms Fitzpatrick spent the next two nights in a room with five other women.

On the third day, she decided to leave because she could not cope with the lack of sleep. At that stage, with her bag packed and while waiting for a prescription, a nurse told her that a room had become available.

“And so I stayed a third night, finally in my own room,” said the presenter who wondered why she bothered paying for a private room in the first place if the odds of getting one were so poor.

Picture: Colette Fitzpatrick: Spoke of the indignity of having her waters broken while on a trolley in a busy maternity hospital despite having private health insurance.

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