Students for Life Ireland, a pro-life student group, have written to the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly calling on him to reconsider the severe visitor restrictions in maternity wards around the country. Spokesperson for the group, Serena Lazarus, a medical student in NUIG, said:
“Over the past number of weeks we’ve been hearing a lot from women about how difficult the experience of pregnancy and childbirth is under these restrictions at maternity hospitals/units. As a medical student myself I am supportive of the various public health measures implemented to tackle the spread of Covid-19, but listening to the stories relayed to us it’s becoming clear just how harsh these restrictions at maternity units are and the level of distress they’ve caused to women availing of the services”.
Ms Lazarus continued: “Some women have opened up in recent times about the isolation and fear they have felt heading into hospital alone in labour. Fathers have spoken about how they spent a maximum of one hour with their newborn baby after their birth and the next time they saw both their partner and baby was three days later. Others have shared stories of hospital appointments at which they’ve received bad news without the presence of a parent or partner to comfort them or the limited visiting hours they have faced when their baby was in the neonatal unit”.
“While public health is important, we ask that these pregnant women and their partners be treated fairly when it comes to their maternity care. This matter has been raised in the Dáil in recent weeks, and we will continue to lobby politicians on the issue. It is unacceptable that women should be left alone and isolated like this. As a student of medicine this is something I am passionate about”, concluded Ms Lazarus