Fury as maternity ward allows pregnant woman to bring her dog to watch two-hour birth


Fury as maternity ward allows pregnant woman to bring her dog to watch two-hour birthSt Michael's Hospital in Bristol said the dog had a 'calming presence'But a hospital source said staff are worried a precedent has been setThe hospital insists a thorough cleaning was carried out after the birthThe labrador – Barney – is a certified 'therapy dog'

By
Ben Spencer

PUBLISHED:

02:48 GMT, 25 January 2013

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UPDATED:

02:50 GMT, 25 January 2013

A hospital allowed a pregnant woman to take her pet dog into a maternity ward so it could watch her give birth.

Managers justified the extraordinary action by saying that the dog – who is called Barney and is believed to be a Labrador – had a ‘calming presence’.

But the unusual presence in the labour ward was criticised amid claims that no special cleaning took place after the two-hour birth.

Complaints: St Michael's Hospital in Bristol allowed a woman to bring her labrador to the maternity ward to watch her give birth

Complaints: St Michael's Hospital in Bristol allowed a woman to bring her labrador to the maternity ward to watch her give birth (file picture)

A source told the Sun: ‘Nurses and doctors were appalled but someone at the hospital had given the woman permission so the dog stayed on the labour ward.

‘This is the first time any of the hospital’s staff can remember such a thing happening.

‘They’re now worried that other women will be allowed to do the same because a precedent has been set.’

'Calming': The dog, a labrador similar to this one, is a certified 'therapy dog' according to St Michael's Hospital (file picture)

'Calming': The dog, a labrador similar to this one, is a certified 'therapy dog' according to St Michael's Hospital (file picture)

The dog was allowed to watch his unnamed owner give birth at St Michael's Hospital in Bristol.

He is said to have been allowed entry to the maternity ward after his owner submitted a form requesting he was there.

Special dispensation to allow Barney to watch the birth was granted because the dog regularly visits wards to comfort patients in his role as a 'therapy dog'.

Sarah Windfield, head of midwifery at the hospital, insisted a thorough cleaning was carried out after the birth.

She added: ‘Barney is a certified Pets as Therapy dog and with his owner regularly attends to patients in hospital.

‘His owner made the request to us for Barney to be present when she gave birth as a therapy dog, not as a pet.

'Having first sought the approval of our infection control expert, we agreed to Barney sitting nearby in the delivery room.’