Today I sent the following to the Patient Care Quality Office of the Vancouver Island Health Authority:
Dear Vancouver Island Health Authority, Patient Care Quality Office;
I write more than a year after I gave birth on July 11, 2010 - because I feel that the care I received failed to meet an acceptable standard.
I was supposed to give birth by way of a scheduled c-section on July 9, 2010. I recieved the call from the hospital, fasted accordingly and arrived as directed and waited. As I was a gestational diabetic, the lack of food eventually caused my blood sugar to drop into a hypoglycemic range and a glucose drip was started. We continued to wait. Surgery did not happen that day and I spent the night in the hospital hoping it would happen the next day. Again we fasted and waited, and again surgery did not happen and again I prepared to spend another night in the hospital - with the promise that surgery would occur first thing the next morning. Unfortunately, I went into labour at quarter to midnight, at which point I was informed that there was no anaesthesiologist available. There was no access to an epidural. My daughter was born vaginally at 4:42 am and needed to be resuscitated. I sustained 2nd degree tears and experience a minor degree of stress urinary incontinance. My labour was terrifying and painful. To this day I have difficulty reflecting upon the experience without feeling stress and anxiety. My autonomy as a woman was violated that day as I was subjected to a natural vaginal delivery, despite having planned for an elective pre-labour c-section.
I am apalled at the level of care I received and am further apalled that VIHA was aware or should have been aware that reducing the level of anaesthesia access to labouring women would result in access to c-sections and epidurals being unreasonably delayed or denied.