Mum's warning after C-section at Medway Maritime Hospital leaves her incontinent and wearing nappies

WATCH: Robyn Bartlett tells ITV News about her experience of maternity care in Kent

A mother-of-two says she feels like a “prisoner in her own home” after complications during childbirth at a Kent hospital left her incontinent and having to wear nappies. 

Robyn Bartlett, from Sittingbourne, has been told she may need a hysterectomy to repair the injury, which is causing urine to leak from two holes in her bladder. 

Baby Erin was delivered via emergency caesarean section at Medway Maritime Hospital last summer. Robyn says she was discharged 14 hours after the surgery, despite telling staff of significant amounts of blood in her urine. 

Robyn Bartlett told ITV News Meridian: “They came round, took my cannula out and said: ‘We need the bed, you're being discharged’. Obviously, the car journey home was horrendous, 14 hours after surgery. 

“Then about three weeks after having my daughter, I woke up in a pool of urine. Ever since that point, I was constantly leaking urine. It just got worse and worse.”

Medway NHS Foundation Trust has apologised “for any distress caused” and said that an “investigation into the issues raised is in progress”.

Robyn Bartlett pictured shortly after giving birth via emergency C-section to her second daughter last summer. Credit: Family photo

Robyn says the injury has been “life changing” and is forcing her to spend £250 per month on supplies of adult nappies.

“It affects everything. I don't want to go out, really. I have to plan everything, if there's a toilet nearby

"I can't get in the car for an hour and drive my kids to a farm or something like that because I'll get wet myself… I've just become a totally different person. I'm such a hermit now.”

Despite raising her incontinence issues with her GP, it took three months before the cause was identified and only after she went for private tests. They found two holes between the bladder and uterus, known as urinary fistulas.

No date has yet been set for the corrective surgery, which could involve a hysterectomy.

It’s due to be carried out at a specialist London hospital. 

Baby Erin’s mother has suffered from incontinence caused by two holes in her bladder since giving birth at Medway Maritime Hospital. Credit: Family photo

The case follows well-publicised failures in maternity services at another NHS trust in the county, with hospitals in East Kent criticised for substandard care for more than a decade.

Last year, an independent investigation concluded that at least 45 babies could have lived if they had received care in-line with national standards in Margate and Ashford. 

Robyn hopes her story will encourage other women to speak out, if they have concerns about their maternity care, regardless of where they are being treated. 

“I really do think that as a woman, especially as a mum, you know your body. If you really do think that something's going on, you need to stand up for yourself and tell them.”

Robyn says she is determined to “fight every day to get my life back.”

Maternity services at Medway Maritime Hospital were rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission in 2017.

In response to our interview, Jayne Black, Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were very sorry to hear that Ms Bartlett was unhappy with the care she received and an investigation into the issues raised is in progress. 

“We will be contacting Ms Bartlett again to discuss the findings once the investigation is completed. We apologise for any distress caused.

Ms Black added: “Upholding high standards of care for all of our patients is a key priority – this remains very important to me and colleagues across the Trust.”

Maternity and gynaecology services at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham were rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission, following inspectors' last visit in 2017. 

Figures obtained by the Labour Party show that last year four in ten maternity units across England were forced to temporarily close due to staff shortages.

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