New mother left in bloodied sheets for three days and given no food for 24 hours as hospital staff “just could not cope”

A new mother says she was left in blood-stained sheets for three days and given no food for 24 hours after having a caesarean section.

Elspeth Kirk, 29, said the birth of her first child Ava turned into a nightmare as desperately overstretched hospital staff struggled to cope.

Mrs Kirk, a teacher from Westcliff, Essex, was admitted to Southend Hospital in Essex on December 7 and had a caesarean section the following morning.

It was when she was then moved to the recovery ward that her troubles began.

Elspeth Kirk with her baby Ava and husband Dean: She said her experience following her caesarean had been awful

Elspeth Kirk with her baby Ava and husband Dean: She said her experience following her caesarean had been awful due to maternity staff shortages

She said: “I couldn”t move because of theepidural anaesthetic I had so they came to give me a bedbath but then just gave me a cloth and told me to wipe under my arms then took the bowl away.

“I kept asking for something to eat but they just said a midwife would have to check me first but they didn”t and in the end I just gave up.

“I hadn”t eaten before I was taken in so in the end didn”t eat for 48 hours.”

She added that she struggled to breastfeed her daughter as there was no-one available to guide her.

Herhusband, Dean, 32, said two other new mothers were so disgusted that they discharged themselves from the ward.

MrsKirk, who works at a special school in Leigh, Essex, said her bloodied sheets were not changed for three days, while the DVT tights she was given to wear to prevent thrombosis turned black because the floor was so filthy.

Despite their ordeal, the couple have nothing but praise for the medical staff who they say were desperately overstretched.

Southend University Hospital

Elspeth had a caesarean at Southend University Hospital. She said she was just given a wet cloth to clean herself with.

Mrs Kirk said: “They were fantastic but they were so short-staffed. At the weekend there were just three people on duty. They just could not cope.

“They were so busy you didn”t want to hassle them.

“Wehad to be seen by a paediatrician but there was only one on duty and hedidn”t have time to see us.

“Two women were so upset at the thought of having to stay another two nights they discharged themselves even thoughone had high blood pressure.

“The whole thing was awful at what should have been a very happy time.”

Liz Glenister, head of midwifery services at the hospital, said: “I am sorry to hear of Mrs Kirk”s experience at the hospital and would welcome the opportunity to discuss the points she has raised in person.

“I would ask Mrs Kirk to make contact with our patient advice and liaison service so we can fully investigate her concerns.”