Denseman on the Rattis

Formerly known as the Widmann Blog


Triage complacency

Poster for Triage
Originally uploaded by RobJenga

When Phyllis and I went to the hospital after the waters broke, we naturally had to go to triage in the first instance – it’s their job to check the stage of labour and send people home or to the delivery suites as appropriate.

The midwife there gave Phyllis an internal examination shortly after 2am and said she was only between one and two cm dilated, so she was wondering whether to send her home till the morning. Phyllis persuaded her to let her stay, but she would only put her up in the normal ward, and she told me to either go home or wait in the reception.

Fortunately, I chose the latter, since I had to wait there for less than an hour before another midwife got me, saying that Phyllis was now six to seven cm dilated (birth starts at ten).

I thus went to the delivery suite with her for the birth that happened less than an hour later, so everything was well, but I’m getting angry at the thought that I could so easily have missed birth if I had listened to the silly triage midwife!

Of course most births happen more slowly, but she should know that it varies wildly and not make decisions that could have horrible effects. In fact, although I didn’t suffer this time, Phyllis had to suffer horrible contractions alone in a ward not designed for labour, and if she hadn’t had the sense to call a midwife soon after she got there, she would probably have given birth alone in a normal bed.

I really think the triage midwife should have looked at how Phyllis looked and not just at her measurements, and she should have given her an extra internal after an hour to check progress before sending her to the other ward.

If she always performs her job like that, no wonder that some mothers give birth in supermarkets and traffic jams!

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