A first-time mum has spoken of the shocking treatment she received in hospital after having a Caesarean.
Elspeth Kirk, 29, says she was left in blood-stained sheets for three days and given no food for 24 hours after giving birth to Ava in Southend Hospital, Essex, on December 8.
She was moved to a recovery ward for two and a half hours before being moved again to a post-natal ward where her nightmare began.
"I couldn't move because of the epidural anaesthetic so they came to give me a bedbath," the teacher from Westcliff, Essex, explained.
"But they just gave me a cloth and told me to wipe under my arms then took the bowl away."
Elspeth was hungry because she hadn't eaten since having lunch the day before, just before her labour started.
"Someone brought around the tea trolley. I asked if I could have something to eat and the woman said she would get back to me. She never came back," she told the Daily Mail.
"I kept asking people if I could eat but they were all so busy. They all said they would go and find out but they never did. I just gave up in the end - I had gone past the point of hunger."
Elspeth was eventually given a cup of tea and two slices of bread and jam at 10.30am on Thursday. When she was finally allowed out of bed, three days after the Caesarean section, the sheets were covered in dried blood.
"The nurse looked quite horrified," Elspeth said.
Elspeth said her bloodied sheets were not changed for three days, while the DVT tights she was given to wear to prevent thrombosis turned black because the floor was so filthy.
But despite her ordeal, she had nothing but praise for the medical staff who she said were desperately overstretched:
"They were fantastic but they were so short-staffed. At the weekend there were just three people on duty. They just could not cope.
"They were so busy you didn't want to hassle them."
Liz Glenister, head of midwifery services at the hospital, told the newspaper: "I am sorry to hear of Mrs Kirk's experience at the hospital and would welcome the opportunity to discuss the points she has raised in person.
"I would ask Mrs Kirk to make contact with our patient advice and liaison service so we can fully investigate her concerns."
What a terrible experience.
Did you have a hospital birth? How was your experience?