We spent over 2 hours this morning at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH). Little had changed since last week. Appointments were still impossible to make so Jacinta was told to come in early and wait.
It was crowded last week, but if anything, it was worse today. Most seats were taken but it’s a funny thing about some people – even when there are seats to sit on they’ll continue to stand. Even heavily pregnant mothers. I can’t figure it out. Martyrs?
This last week has seen Ireland sweltering under a blistering warm sun and conditions in the hospital were as stuffy as before. I stood near a radiator in the corridor and was shocked to find it was lukewarm. Expectant mothers looked on in disbelief when I mentioned this!
You’ll meet all sorts in the hospital. All races and creeds are represented in those hallways and unfortunately Irish racism is alive and kicking. A man at the end of the corridor was heard to say, “I should learn a foreign language and get an interpreter. We’d be seen sooner.” Shortly afterwards, his partner commented on the pronouciation of a foreign doctor saying that it was hard to understand him.
Good news however, I’ll be a dad within the next 7 to 8 days (hopefully). Due date is tomorrow but if nothing happens, Jacinta will be induced by the end of next week.
In related matters, Justin provides a transcript and commentary on Green Party candidate Patricia McKenna’s assertion on national radio that there’s a link between MMR and autism. That link has been discredited and I’m following this closely, but all it takes is one comment from the parent of an autistic child to make me doubt my convictions. Conor has more to say on the matter too.
He also reported a few weeks back that children in a Cork creche were found to have Tuberculosis (TB). Munster, the southern region of Ireland, does not have a programme in place to vacinate babies and children, but after the recent outbreaks, the HSE will introduce it later in the year. The vaccine is called BCG and has been administered in all other parts of the country. The Wikipedia page on Tuberculosis has a lot more information on the disease.
More and more bloggers I read are becoming parents. Maybe I’ve become more aware of the announcements, or maybe it’s simply that they are at that stage in life when they’re starting or expanding families. Remember when you and all your friends were celebrating your 21st birthdays?
The Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has a lot to answer for. Nurses, midwives, consultants and other staff in the newly opened Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) are stretched to the limit coping with the pressure of expectant mothers and babies from the original three maternity hospitals in the city.
We spent over two hours in a stuffy, crowded and very warm waiting area to be seen by a midwife and a consultant this morning. It was in stark contrast to the empty hallways and calm of the hospital just two weeks ago when we were given a tour of the facilities and offered a glimpse of a gleaming high-tech maternity environment. Pregnant women, partners and children waited in the sweltering heat while staff were run off their feet. The waiting area was unfortunately too small, there weren’t enough seats, and pregnant women had to make do by leaning against the walls of the corridors while waiting to be seen.
Despite the pressure, staff were as nice as always. Midwives were considerate, helpful and professional, but when asked about how things were going I heard that 2 had resigned and 4 had taken sick leave. As well as being short staffed to begin with, the remaining staff are even worse off now. Some workers are pulling 11 hour days.
Did I forget to mention that this 75 million Euro hospital doesn’t have air conditioning? Can you imagine the heat and mood in a small area where the only air comes from 2 slightly ajar windows and from internal corridors? It wasn’t nice. At least the two expensive flat screen LCD screens on the walls kept us occupied with day time TV courtesy of TV3. Oh yeah, that’s what we need.
Thanks to Mary Harney’s bullying tactics last week the hospital opened a week late on Saturday last. She had threatened to find a different use for the building if midwives didn’t accept her terms and move to the new hospital. Midwives and consultants protested that staffing levels weren’t high enough and I bore witness to that shortage this morning. Even the computer system there is broken and not expected to be working until this evening. No appointments could be made so women had to come on a first-come-first-served basis to the morning clinic. One woman we met there had been there since 8.30am. We arrived at 11am. Apparently it was even worse on Monday.
Teething problems with a new hospital? Perhaps, but if Mary Harney wanted the hospital opened a week previously shouldn’t those problems have been sorted out then?
Truly, healthcare is a vocation. I couldn’t do it. The midwives and staff deserve all the support they can get.
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