Parents’ experiences of neonatal surgery

Adam & Sonya

Brief outline: Adam and Sonya’s first baby arrived safely, without complications. But at 3 weeks they noticed a lump in her groin. She had a hernia in her groin that required surgery.

Background: Adam is 34 and a technology manager. Sonya is 31 and a primary school teacher. They are married with one daughter.

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Adam and Sonya’s first baby arrived safely, without any complications. They came home the day she was born, and everything was going well. But when she was three weeks old, Sonya noticed that her daughter had a small lump in her groin. She went to see the GP who sent her straight to the local hospital (a large teaching hospital).

They waited in A & E for several hours, being seen by various doctors. Finally, a consultant told them they were being transferred to the children’s surgical ward and that they were booked in for surgery the next day. Doctors had found a hernia in her groin, which they did not think was an emergency, so they were happy to leave it overnight, but it did need surgery.

Sonya spent a worrying night at her daughter’s cot-side, Adam was not allowed to stay overnight. Next morning the anaesthetist visited them, to talk them through the consent forms, and in the early afternoon, their daughter was taken down for her surgery. It was a short operation, just 20 minutes. The surgeon came and told them he had fixed the hernia, and also checked to see if there was another one on the other side. After the surgery, their daughter had to stay in another night and then was allowed home.

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