Paula–Hayley’s Mum’s story

Paula–Hayley’s Mum’s story

Every year Mater mum Paula and husband Bobby make a financial donation to the Bereavement team’s Wave of Light service for the exceptional care they received at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals after the death of their daughter Hayley in the United Kingdom in 2009.

Paula’s story isn’t like any other who has been cared for by the Bereavement team. Baby Hayley was born in Belfast and at the age of 13 months, required open heart surgery to correct a heart condition. After surgery, her condition deteriorated quickly and despite her family’s constant request for help, Hayley died.

The circumstances were every parent’s worst nightmare. Paula knew her daughter wasn’t well and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust later admitted: “When Hayley died we recognised that some of her care fell below our usual high standards and for this we offer a heartfelt apology for the distress that has been caused. We’ve taken all the steps possible to learn from this.”

Paula campaigned tirelessly so that no other family have to suffer like they did. Through Paula’s campaigning and the coronial inquest, the Birmingham hospital implemented the Paediatric Assessment Clinical intervention and Education (PACE) team and rapid response system.

Fast forward to 2019 and Paula reflects on Hayley’s experience, the births of two healthy daughters in Australia and the anxiety of having to deal with hospitals all over again.

“The culture at the Mater was polar opposite of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, although I do understand they were in defence mode–Bobby and I were petrified of hospitals and the same thing happening again,” Paula said.

“(Midwife) Michelle and (Bereavement Midwife) Trish were so amazing and they soothed our souls, restored our trust and faith in humanity after such a brutal and dehumanising experience.

“That kindness is the reason we make a small ‘thank you’ donation every year.

“Michelle was like our guardian angel–she told us she would pave the way for us–told everyone Hayley’s story and they treated us with compassion and tender loving care,” she said. 

“Every time we go to Southbank we tell both our girls you were born in that hospital and we always say how beautiful and kind and lovely everyone was.

“The Mater was the guiding light after the dark and ugly nightmare,” Paula said.

Return to Bereavement Services Page

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