No room at special care for new baby

GOING in to labour seven weeks early was frightening enough in itself for Grundisburgh mum Linda Mortimer.But the impending premature birth of new baby Thomas was further complicated when the Special Care Baby Unit at Ipswich Hospital had no space for him.

GOING in to labour seven weeks early was frightening enough in itself for Grundisburgh mum Linda Mortimer.

But the impending premature birth of new baby Thomas was further complicated when the Special Care Baby Unit at Ipswich Hospital had no space for him.

After a two-hour wait while staff phoned around looking for specialist baby care space at another hospital Mrs Mortimer was driven 60 miles to Hinchingbrooke in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

The 30-year-old, who lives with husband David and seven-year-old son Dale at Thomas Walls Close, safely gave birth to the new family addition who weighed in at 7lbs early on Saturday but she said the lead up to what thankfully turned out to be a happy even had been traumatic.


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She said: "My husband took me to Ipswich Hospital on Friday morning and they put me in a room and on a monitor to check on my contractions, which were three minutes apart.

"They said told me that I could not have the baby there because there was not one single space left at the SCBU. They kept me on the drip and put me in an ambulance with a midwife.

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"At one point I thought I would give birth in the ambulance."

This was particularly worrying for Mrs Mortimer, as she feared that the ambulance did not have the life-saving equipment that her baby would need if the birth was complicated.

She added: "That was very frightening because the traffic had slowed right down and I was worried that there was a jam. My contractions had started again because of the bumpy journey.

"I gave birth to my first child very quickly and I thought that it would happen again. I think it could have gone terribly wrong."

Her 31-year-old husband, said he was angered by his wife's ordeal although he praised staff at both hospitals.

He said: "All the people and hospital staff that have dealt with us have been great but they are just so overstretched and have to be put in these positions.

"The doctors were under so much pressure and I felt sorry for them as they had to make such difficult decisions. It all boils down to a lack of money, beds and equipment."

Staff at Ipswich Hospital apologised for having no room for Mrs Mortimer but offered their assurance that she was never put in any real danger.

Chris Colbourne, head of midwifery at Ipswich Hospital, said: "We always have the safety of mother and baby at the centre of everything we do."

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