The Heart of South Tyneside

Our hospital is the beating heart of South Tyneside.
It touches all of our lives!

This page contains an unordered collection of patient's testimony that demonstrates the vital importance of our hospital and acute services. We encourage you to share your stories about the value of our local hospital, and about any difficulties caused to you by service downgrades and closures. You can write about your experiences on our facebook page (and with your permission we may copy some of them to this website). Alternatively you can submit your stories in support of South Tyneside Hospital and the need for local health services on this page, where they will be added to this collection.

Thank You
Julie Burns:
That is my story! They were amazing saving mine and my sons life.. I shut my eyes thinking that was the end as long as my baby boy was safe... I woke up!! With him in my arms. That doctor that day is some woman. And they definitely need more appreciation.
Jackie Hudson:
Absolutely amazing staff on delivery suite and the ward. Saved my boys life when he got stuck and I could not begin to thank or praise them all enough. A well needed service in South Shields that needs to be saved!
Julie Burns:
My life was definitely in their hands that day!!

Carly Marie Emmerson:

Hi I've seen other stories and was wondering if I could share mine? Firstly myself and my sister wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Shields hospital. I was an emergency section birth and my sister was born with her cord round her neck and blue. The midwife was amazing in doing her job by getting my sister safe and freed from the cord and keeping my mam calm. I could go on about the countless A&E trips over the years but I won't.

My grandma had a stroke in 2006, staff in A&E then on the stroke ward were amazing, they went above and beyond to give her the care she needed, and helping us to make sure she could come home and we had all the support we needed to be her carers. She couldn't move her right side, speak or eat after her stroke, but the nurses took the time needed along with the speech therapy to help her communicate with us, even managing a few simple words we will be forever in their debt.

My mam was rushed into A&E in 2009 with septicaemia and gangrene, she was only given the weekend to live, but the staff in Shields hospital worked tirelessly, operating on her everyday for a week, and caring for her for 12 weeks - She made it! She has disabilities now but she's here thanks to the amazing staff.

My granddad suffered 13 heart attacks and every one of them was a rush to A&E, with one of them ending with them putting a pace wire in on the ward for him. They saved his life on countless occasions, they saved all our lives on countless occasions. It wasn't just his heart attacks he had, a whole host of health problems one of them meaning every fortnight he was in A&E for a blood transfusion. He wasn't just a patient and we weren't just his family. They made us feel that they cared and that's because they did. A lovely nurse from A&E looked after my granddad every time he came in, and the day he died she was truly upset, but you could see her fight that to do what was needed for us and him.

They were and still are godsends and to take that away from us isn't just heartbreaking it's reckless and dangerous. Paramedics can't get people from the area to Sunderland as quickly as Shields and everyone knows time is of the essence, not to mention the fact that people will have to make the decision of visiting or not (we were at every visiting time as a family) and that isn't just unfair on the family but the patient, and in a long stay patient, in my opinion, would start to affect their mental health. We need it to stay as the fantastic hospital it is!

Alison Jane Addison:
My beautiful Mam was a patient in Ward 8 (Acute Stroke Ward) last year. The care and attention she received from everyone; consultant, doctors, nursing staff, occupational therapist and also the cleaner was second to none. The love and support shown by all of them was wonderful, we will never be able to thank them enough for everything they did. It would be a sin if South Tyneside Hospital were to be downgraded, or worse still closed. We need this fantastic hospital and all its services.

Caroline Lomas:
The importance of SCBU and Maternity Services at South Tyneside District Hospital.
We really don't want to loose this hospital. 9 years ago I had my eldest son, he and myself were extremely poorly. The staff were amazing. I was rushed in for an emergency c-section as my son was struggling. I had mecroeam stained waters. My son had pooed and was breathing in the waters. After he was born he was rushed straight to SCBU as he had to be resuscitated and didn't breath for 3 minutes, which felt like a lifetime. He spent 10 days here on oxygen. It was the worst time of my life and the staff were generally so supportive and helpful to me. Now my son is 9 and is doing great, has a few problems, but at the time we did not think we would make it this far.

Natalie Billing:
I can't give South Shields Hospital enough praise. I have two beautiful children who I am lucky to have. First pregnancy was normal until I was eight months pregnant and I went into early Labour. I needed forceps to help with her delivery. I had over ten midwives in the room at one point who helped to calm me and my partner. Second pregnancy I went into Labour at 8 months again and I was given an emergency c-section as there was no heartbeat detected. She came out screaming thankfully. Both girls were in SCBU for a few weeks until they were strong enough to come home. The registrar on the ward didn't leave it there. She did everything she could do to find out why my babies were early. Later found out my placenta had stopped working so my body was rejecting my baby. Luckily the fast thinking team at STDH saved their lives. I'm eternally grateful and would hate to think the local community would miss out on having this fantastic service on our doorstep.
Kelly Dagg:
Fantastic! Well done telling your story Natalie. I totally agree with you and too many people jump on the band wagon and slate our hospital without good cause. I have had nothing but good experiences when using the services of our hospital and the amazing staff. We don't know how lucky we are.
George Bell:
Me and my wife agree fantastic hospital.

David A. Turnbull:

I was rushed into A&E not long ago - mid July this year - being sick and bleeding at both ends. I left it as I thought it would pass but unfortunately I was getting weaker & weaker until I could no longer stand. I was rushed in and was seen to very promptly by the doctors who explained what had happened to me and that I needed 4 pints of blood and 7 pints of plasma as I had lost a lot of blood. They also told me I had to have antibiotic drips as I had toxins in my blood. All this together could have killed me but for the dedication of the doctors and especially the nurses round the clock care I'm on the up & up.

Thanks to the doctors and nurses of South Tyneside Hospital and there quick action I'm here today. Big thank you.

Kathryn Crammon:
My husband and I sadly lost our first son at 38 weeks due to stillbirth. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy so this news was very unexpected. The care and compassion that the midwives of the delivery suite at South Tyneside showed us was touching. We had our little boy at South Tyneside and were able to spend a few precious days in a room the midwives specifically chose for us, so we could have our family visit whenever. We never once felt rushed to leave and were given all options thoughtfully. We can not thank the midwives enough for the memories we were able to have of our son! When pregnant again we ended up transferring my care back to STDH at the later stages of my pregnancy, a decision I am so glad we made as all of my anxieties were listened to and our daughter was safely delivered after an induction. The consultants and midwives are brilliant, and to think if I fell pregnant again I would not be able to deliver at STDH (as I'm classed as consultant led). This would be devastating to our family!

A Patient's Story:

While visiting my family in my home town of South Shields last year I unfortunately suffered a miscarriage, which resulted in numerous trips to Shields hospital and a minor operation. Throughout the whole experience every single member of staff at the hospital was extremely kind caring and supportive, the surgeons and the ladies who looked after me after the operation were amazing!

The hospital is a huge & critical part of the community x

A Patient's Story:

When I had my first baby I was a teenage mam. I was supported without being judged by the whole team in the maternity department. I was told I had a 'normal, full term' pregnancy. I had a quick labour of 6 hours and a healthy baby. I had fantastic care by all midwives. So when I had my second baby I had already decided I wanted to be at Shields. I was told I was 'low risk' and my pregnancy again was fine. I was one week overdue when I went into labour. At the last minute I had an emergency happen. My baby was very, very stuck. It was a bit of a blur at the time but within seconds I had what seemed to be all of the staff in the room helping my midwife and my baby. Luckily we were both okay with no serious injuries, but then I had a massive bleed and lost A LOT of blood. I now know that this can happen with normal labours sometimes and it cannot be predicted. I know from my experiences that if I had not been at South Tyneside and the doctors and extra midwives were not available in a few minutes to help, then one or both of us might have had very bad injuries or even have died while waiting on an ambulance to take us elsewhere.

I do not mean to scare anyone but I want everyone to know the danger of not having a doctor led unit close by. Minutes are a very long time in an emergency. We need to keep South Tyneside delivery suite as it is.
Lorna Ellen Waite:
So important for people to realise that this is a scary reality!! Save our hospital!!!!!
Pauline Mcdonnell:
This happened to me many years ago and my son was only saved by the staff being there to operate within seconds. Those making these recommendations seem to be medically negligent.

Lisa-Marie Owen:
I am type 2 diabetic, to fall pregnant is a mission itself. Pre-planning every month at South Shields hospital to make sure you are fit to carry full term, then appointments every week with the combined clinic to ensure that you and your baby have every winning chance. When the time comes the support that you receive is unbelievable. Joanna and the midwives in the delivery suite are with you every step of the way. I went in on a Saturday after my waters broke to be induced that night, and after a long labour I finally gave birth with the help of Joanna, two other midwives and a consultant on Monday 12.45am. After being moved to the ward and being looked after by Joanne and the team I couldn't have asked for better care. They helped me feed and change my son while I had blood transfusions, they also looked after me when I was readmitted after being sent home. I couldn't imagine travelling somewhere else for once a week appointments and having the same support that I received in South Shields. Without the teams from all departments I wouldn't have these two gorgeous boys.

Shannon Handyside:
The importance of our local acute and emergency services at South Tyneside District Hospital.

Hi, I'd like to share my experience of South Tyneside hospital ward 22. I found out I was pregnant fairly early on at about 5 weeks, and it was mainly because I couldn't stop being sick. Everybody said it was morning sickness and it would pass, but it didn't. I was admitted to ward 22 at 7 weeks with severe dehydration, and had an early scan to see if it was twins. The midwives, consultants and doctors were absolutely amazing. They went above and beyond for me. It turned out I wasn't having twins and I had a condition known as hyperemisis gravidurum, and the road ahead was so very hard! I was admitted to the ward 32 times by the end of my pregnancy, so I basically lived there! I got seriously ill, I couldn't eat or drink at all and was seriously thin for being pregnant. The sickness took me over but the midwives helped me through. They cared for me like no other and I truly believe me and my daughter wouldn't of survived if it wasn't for them. They pushed for me to have feeding tubes and TPN. They made sure I had what I needed, and ...on the odd day I needed a plain cheese sandwich in the middle of the night (because sometimes I could eat) they would run to the canteen to get it for me.

My Labour was amazing as well. They gave me amazing care and my beautiful little girl was brought into the world at 36 weeks 5 days, and was perfectly healthy weighing 5lb 5oz. She struggled to feed and one of the auxiliary nurses stayed up with us all night trying to get her to latch. She was amazing help. We stayed in for a further 3 days because ivy couldn't maintain her temp so they helped her with a heated lamp. They also helped me because I was seriously exhausted. They helped me feed, change her, everything! As I said before, they went above and beyond, and I owe those ladies on that ward everything! They are superheroes??

Please don't let them close our hospital. I don't think I would even consider having any more children if I knew they weren't going to be there any more, because they got me through it all x
Carol Wilson:
I too had outstanding care whilst on ward 22. I had a couple of overnight stays due to PPROM, then admitted for around 3 weeks before being transferred to North Tees. The staff on ward 22 are fantastic. I will be forever grateful to them for the care and treatment I received..xx
Claire Davison:
Having 5 children between 17 and 3, I've been on the ward for various reasons. I've watched the ward go from bustling and full of families and babies and pregnant women to a near ghost ward when I was admitted with Isaac for infections. It was horrible seeing what it's become. These wards need kept open. Not everyone has standard straight forward pregnancies or wants to be sent to hospitals miles away from families and sometimes their children xx

Danielle Currer:
South Tyneside Hospital is so important...

Hi my son Logan goes to A&E once a month to have his port flushed by his nurse. He is calm and happy to get it done and doesn't mind having the needle at all. If they were to close that, yes they could come to our home to do it, but it stresses him out. He has built up a friendship with the nurse that does it. He used to have to be sedated as he was so scared to have it done, now he comes in, has his needle port flushed with no fuss.

We need this service as travelling to Newcastle RVI once a month for something that takes a few minutes would take us a couple of hours on the bus and metro.
Jean Dickinson:
It's a silly idea they have had. Hope they don't close it x
Sylvia Harbron:
Bloody Tories, might as well be in the third world, they can get to their docs that quick. Hope they keep it open.

Kirsty Marie Luther:
Why we need the Special Care Baby Unit and Maternity Services at South Tyneside District Hospital

Thought I would share my story as you were asking. I had my baby boy on 1st July this year. The midwife who delivered him was amazing, and she was very understanding even though I was screaming at her (nothing bad, I was just wanting my son here). Had to stay overnight due to them wanting to keep a check on me after losing too much blood. Expected to be out the next day. That wasn't to be the case, as my sons stats we're not what they were wanting, so he had to be sent to the special care baby unit. They suspected an infection so started treating him straight away with antibiotics. They took bloods to be sent off so they could get an idea what was wrong. I was absolutely beside myself crying and the staff in SCBU were so supportive, caring and understanding.

I ...spoke to one of the neonatal nurses about the possible closure, and you could see that it was such a hard topic to talk about. Just looking at all the cards and gifts they received whilst I was with my baby showed the gratitude people who needed the MM have shown.

He was only in there 2 days but we needed to stay on the ward for a couple of more days. All the staff were friendly and were on hand if you needed help. Honestly couldn't have asked for better staff to look after me and my boy. It will be a shame to see the services go. I'd already signed the petition before I went into hospital, and whilst in there I shared the link with all my friends hoping they would do the same.
Jean Craig:
Both of my children and one of my grandchildren were in SCBU. Two of them in an emergency situation. Goodness knows what the outcome would have been if SCBU wasn't there. It is a very necessary part of maternity services.

A Patient's Story:
So, when I was 19 I was diagnosed with PCOS (sub-fertility). Took me years after to get referred to a gynaecologist at South Tyneside hospital. The gynaecologist is absolutely amazing! Each month she sees me, she made me so comfortable and she treats you like a friend. Anyway, 16 months on, 3 different tablets - changing to injections, if it wasn't for the gynaecologist I may have slipped into severe depression. ...My partner and I wanted a baby for 6 year! The gynaecologist has been super supportive. Also my partner is diabetic but didn't know. He got rushed into hospital due to being ill. The ambulance was fantastic! He got diagnosed with diabetes and was kept in for about a week to get it controlled before going home, and the nurses were brilliant in the wards. They would have a laugh with him and make sure he was comfy. They let me pop in early to give him his shower things and fresh clothes for the day. I cannot fault this hospital and we would be lost completely without it! My partner might have passed into a diabetic coma given how high his sugars were at first, but the ambulance was at the door within 10 minutes. As soon as he was in the ambulance, he was hooked up to machines checking everything and they kept him awake till he got to the hospital!

Tracy Walker:
My partner had a stroke a few years ago and this hospital took care of him. The care was fantastic. We thought Owen would not get on his feet again, but after a year he was back at work. All due to the stroke ward and the after-care. I will always be very grateful to them all. Sadly Owen passed away last year, but the care the hospital provided gave Owen and I years to enjoy xxx

Sophie Wilson:
The mental health team down at the hospital will be a big miss to people.

Sonia Morton:

My little boy Layton is here again... Layton was born at 27 weeks and suffers from chronic lung disease. He's a healthy little boy most of the time, but a simple thing such as it being too windy can end him up in A&E. Over the years we have spent many nights in here, and it would be a disaster to let a fantastic service go.

Come on people of South Shields your children deserve this hospital!!!

Nicola Fullwood:

I was having a normal pregnancy in that all was well ...until Christmas Day 2003. I woke up and felt rotten. Put it down to being 7 months pregnant. I made dinner, but as the day progressed I felt steadily worse. It wasn't until I eventually went to relax by having a bath that I realised all was not good. Every part of my body was swollen and aching. I rang the maternity ward and they said if I could manage the night not to come down until the morning if everything was the same.

We arrived at the hospital first thing boxing day after having very little sleep. After checking everything, I was considered a high concern as my blood pressure was exceedingly high. This went on every day until it was no longer safe. I had pre-eclampsia. I could go on... but to cut the story short I was in for two weeks before and then two weeks after. If it was not for the midwives and doctor, I would no longer be here. I haemorrhaged due to the placenta, and my body started to shut down. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. I would have died if I had to have been transferred to another hospital, and my daughter would be without a mum.

Still to this day I question events. I was so close to death yet I survived. My husband wrote a poem, which was hung above the maternity suite. Our daughter spent time in SCBU, and I on the ward. We have nothing but praise and respect for South Tyneside Hospital. I chose this hospital over Sunderland Royal as it was the better choice, although I lived in Sunderland. I am very fortunate to be able to write this, and it all boils down to the care and attention I was given. The time I woke up and said "am I all alive" - and the response - "yes, I've been with you all night", was such a relief that we cried. I've been grateful everyday since. South Tyneside Hospital is the best we have. X

Rebecca Bailey:

Shields Gazette has reported that our hospital has paid a few hundred thousand pounds on new scanning machinery. Yes I understand it is a vital piece of equipment, but while they're finding funds to buy new machines they're cutting our services. I have four children and three of them were born in South Tyneside. The care we received ...was brilliant. I had my first child at 16. One of the midwives called Angela who worked there (possibly still does) was outstanding, so were all the midwives.

My daughter needed medical attention for appendicitis when she was 5. The GP had forgot about a home visit and put her in for an appointment, but I couldn't get her there, she couldn't stand and she couldn't keep medicine down. I managed to contact our GP who rang 999. They took us to South Shields, but due to taking away our children's theatre and children's ward we were transferred to the RVI. By this time her appendix had burst. After surgery she returned to her normal self. I believe we need our services just the same as every hospital. I'm truly grateful to the midwives and nurses. ...Taking away services that are life saving for some is horrendous. X

I myself have no stories from South Tyneside Hospital, but I have many friends and family members that do. Many friends who are pregnant and have to now travel to Sunderland or Newcastle for delivery of their children. I have family whom have almost died at childbirth (both mother and child) whom have been saved by the caring and fantastic maternity ward at South Tyneside Hospital. Removing the services from our local hospital will inevitably result in so many lives at risk and possibly lost. It is dangerous, and stupid. I hope that the matter gets looked at in retrospect NOW to see the idiocy in these plans, let alone when ALL of the services are gone and sold to private companies. We need health practices such as this hospital, not 'rehabilitating' hospitals. The next time my mother needs to be rushed to hospital, or one of my friends goes into labour, the difference between a hospital in South Shields and a hospital in Sunderland could be the difference between life and death.

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