Baby's father blames hospital

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 05/09/2013
David Milton
JOHN HAWKINS/ Fairfax NZ
BLAME: David Milton, pictured here in 2009 with his dog Clifford, is angry at Southland Hospital's lack of effort in helping his wife Sucharitta.
Sucharitta Milton
JOHN HAWKINS/ Fairfax NZ
NOT HELPED: Sucharitta Milton, pictured here in 2010 with her dogs, was sent home in pain from Southland Hospital on Sunday.

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The father of a 3-week-old baby whose throat was slashed is blaming Southland Hospital for turning his wife away when she asked for help on Sunday morning.

David Milton said he took his wife, Sucharitta, to Southland Hospital at 3am on Sunday because she was in "absolute agony".

She had been "like a zombie" and in extreme pain with multiple stitches after the birth of their daughter Noklair, he said.

However, she was sent home at 6.30am after undergoing several tests and being told she had post natal depression and mastitis, he said.

"The doctor's attitude was absolutely disgusting."

She was told to visit her GP on Monday, he said.

On Sunday night Sucharitta began passing out and Mr Milton rang their midwife, who had been visiting weekly, to tell her about Sucharitta's symptoms.

"I was trying to keep her going."

The midwife told her to express as much milk as possible and to put cabbage leaves on her breasts and told the couple she had "milk fever". However, by Monday morning their home had become a crime scene and their baby was being rushed to hospital with life threatening injuries.

His wife was also taken to Southland Hospital with "slashed wrists" where she had cut her tendons and ligaments, he said.

"She's been kept in hospital ever since."

He was standing by his wife and supporting her through everything, he said.

Meanwhile, his daughter was still in an induced coma in Starship Children's Hospital, but the hospital staff planned to bring her around slowly today, he said.

As soon as he was able to visit his daughter, he would fly to Auckland.

Police had originally put him in isolation, taking his phone away and not letting him speak to anyone but they were now being supportive and helping the family, he said.

"The police were all against us right at the beginning, now their whole attitude has changed."

Noklair now faces a four month stay in hospital and a long road to recovery, he said.

"They have done a brain scan, but she was fine, but they don't know 100 per cent yet."

Southern District Health Board spokeswoman Stacy Belser said the health board would not comment on the case because of patient privacy.

 

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HOW TO COPE WITH FEELING LOW AFTER CHILDBIRTH

Postnatal depression at a glance:

What is it?

* A severe ''low'' feeling after childbirth that lasts longer that the common two-week mood swing period after giving birth, developing into postnatal depression.

* It affects about 13 per cent of new mothers, and can occur at any time during the first year. 

* Some women with postnatal depression also experience depression during their pregnancy.

* It is caused by the hormonal changes following childbirth, the stresses of looking after a young baby and having your sleep disrupted. 

What does it feel like?

*Each woman's experience of postnatal depression is different. Cultural background may also affect a woman's experience of postnatal depression.

*Feelings of anxiety, irritability, having difficulty sleeping and a reduced appetite are some of the early signs of postnatal depression.

* You may feel that you are being a bad mother and that somehow you have to cope.

* It can affect how you feel about, and care for, your baby. 

Tips for new mothers

*Keep a diary of your thoughts and feelings.

*Have a simple thing to look forward to every day.

*Pick a trusted support person that will ring you each day.

*Listen to some relaxing music at least once a day. 

*Plan some time out just for you.

* Ask yourself each day ''When did I last laugh?''

Where can you go for help?

* Southland Mental Health Emergency Team provide 24/ 7 service on 0800 467 846.

* Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand Otago/ Southland services call (03) 477 2871.

* LifeLine counsellor call 0800 543 354.

Source: Plunket and Southern District Health Board

- The Southland Times

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