An expectant mother who was locked out of Middlemore Hospital nearly had to give birth while leaning against a rubbish bin.
Kym Pivac and her husband Luke were left standing in the rain outside the maternity ward in the early hours of September 27.
The Papatoetoe residents arrived at the hospital at 2.17am and were staggered to find the maternity ward's doors locked.
They could see a security guard sitting inside the foyer reading a newspaper. By then the baby's head was halfway out and Kym was starting to push.
"I remember pushing and thinking ‘Please don't come out'. I can still see what was in the rubbish bin," she says.
They waited for the security guard to open the doors but Luke eventually had to bang "quite loudly" to get his attention.
"This is forever etched in my mind. It's how I remember the birth of my only daughter and it's disgusting to associate that with a rubbish bin," he says.
They made it into the foyer at 2.25am and were left while the guard went to get help and nurses arrived with a wheelchair.
Little Elina Catherine was born at 2.44am as soon as Kym got on the maternity ward bed.
The Pivacs laid an official complaint with the hospital after the birth.
They say security guards should not be left in charge of seeing patients into the hospital because they are not medically trained.
Acting director of hospital services Nettie Knetsch wrote to the couple and apologised for the incident.
She says the security guard was spoken to "to remind him of our expectations and the impact of his actions on people's experience".
The lighting was checked and additional lights installed at the maternity ward entrance.
Counties Manukau Health chief medical officer Gloria Johnson says pregnant women are told to go to the maternity ward entrance where a security guard is on duty overnight.
Normally women are admitted immediately and the guard will let doctors know of their arrival, Dr Johnson says.
"Most hospitals in New Zealand have similar arrangements for after-hours access to the birthing suites.
"In this case the guard did not quite follow procedure in that he called the obstetric team before admitting the patient," she says.
Dr Johnson says the best place for a woman to give birth is in the birthing unit but staff won't refuse entry to the emergency department.
The couple also sent a letter to Health Minister Tony Ryall whose office responded saying a ministry official had contacted Counties Manukau District Health Board. The official has told the couple the board is carrying out a full investigation.
- © Fairfax NZ News