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Rosanna Cotino

Rosanna Cotino, 40, mother of premature baby

Neonatal department, RNSH

Rosanna Cotino, 40 of Collaroy, Sydney, experienced complications with the birth of her third child. She was bleeding early in her pregnancy and was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH). She stayed at RNSH for a few days before entering early labour. Unfortunately there were no neonatal intensive care beds available at RNSH, so she was transferred to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle for the delivery of her baby at 27 weeks, before returning to RNSH a week later.

What has been your recent experience with RNSH?

During my last pregnancy, I experienced complications and bleeding very early in the piece and was admitted to RNSH. I was there for a few days before being informed that I had entered early labour. Because they had no neonatal icu-bed available, I was transported to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle via ambulance, where my son was born at 27 weeks. I stayed at John Hunter Hospital for a week before returning to RNSH.

During my time at John Hunter Hospital, my family and I were accommodated at Ronald McDonald House, where we enjoyed many services available to families from outside the Newcastle area. Similar accommodation facilities for regionally-based families are lacking at RNSH.

How did you find the treatment and care at RNSH?

The staff have been great. They have been so helpful to my family and I. They do what they can with the few services that they have available when the kids come to visit. They continue to keep me up-to-date with my baby’s progress.

What do you think of the redevelopment plans for RNSH?

Upgrading the facilities is commendable, but the plans for redevelopment still fall way short of the services available at John Hunter Hospital. The current services available at RNSH are limited, especially those available for parents and families from outside Sydney. More support and accommodation services are required for families living outside of Sydney.

Fortunately my family and I were able to experience the facilities and services available at John Hunter Hospital, including the use of Ronald McDonald House. But when I visit my son at RNSH, I can see other mums and their families struggling with the facilities available at RNSH, especially those whose babies are in hospital for two-to-three months.

The NSW government has already taken away the delivery services at Mona Vale Hospital. So for those who live on the Northern Beaches, we are required to travel to RNSH. The planned upgrade will create further issues with the separation of services that could affect emergency deliveries, which is simply unacceptable.

There is a pin board in the RNSH neonatal unit that highlights where mums and their families come from.  They come from all over NSW, some from many miles away. You have to question what type of support these families are getting and what they will receive with the planned hospital upgrade? I was really fortunate to have been transferred to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle. It was a long way from home, but at least my family and I were given tremendous support.