The family of a South Coast mum says a Sydney hospital has failed to provide meals for her in the three weeks she has been living there, feeding her premature baby.
Elizabeth Jarvis, of South Nowra, has been leaving hospital when she can, relying on the kindness of family members, friends and strangers at times, to ensure she’s fed at Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick.
The meal provision situation has placed further stress on a family already concerned about baby Jordan, who’s suffering major health issues after he was born four weeks premature.
It is understood Shoalhaven Hospital provides meals for mums of newborn babies, and Elizabeth’s family can’t understand why she should be treated differently in Sydney.
“This is an appalling administrative situation,” Ms Jarvis’ father in law, Alastair McDonough said.
“Why is it that a nursing mother of a four-week-old infant, feeding three-hourly, some 200km from home and family support is denied meals?
“Family and friends have taken food to her but as we all live on the South Coast, this has not been regular.
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“Take away meals have been expensive, which should not be the first and only choice of a nursing mother.”
Jordan’s dad, Anthony McDonough, has been working locally to ensure the family’s finances stay afloat.
Fed up, Alastair appealed to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard via his local MP early in the week.
Mr Hazzard didn’t respond personally, but a hospital spokeswoman replied to the South Coast Register’s email within hours on Friday.
“Currently, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick is not able to provide meals to parents and carers,” the spokeswoman said.
“There are supports available through the hospital’s Social Work department for families experiencing financial hardship.
”We are very sorry to hear about Elizabeth’s experience.
“We will look into this matter and work with Elizabeth on ensuring she is supported during her time in hospital.”
According to Alastair, a patient’s advocate attended the hospital on Friday afternoon, ascertained Elizabeth had received meals via a friend for the weekend, and left without arranging a meal plan for her.
“The situation is becoming more appalling by the minute,” Alastair said.
“At least they are aware of Liz's existence.”
She told Elizabeth she would return on Monday.