The young mum and her partner, who wanted to remain anonymous, say they took their premature two-month-old baby boy to the Lismore Base Hospital’s emergency department in late 2014 when he wouldn’t stop crying and lacked interest in food.
They were told by doctors that the child's symptoms were "because he’s a premature baby" before being sent home.
By January of 2015, a mass on the baby’s belly button had grown from the size of a pea to the size of a cricket ball. The mum rushed back to the hospital for treatment when the mass started "going purple and green."
She tells nine.com.au that staff were unsure how to treat her son and though she expected an ambulance to rush him to a Gold Coast or Brisbane hospital, that didn't happen. Instead, the doctors tried to push the unidentified lump back into the baby's stomach.
"Eventually they said 'we've got a bottle teat, I'll put the bottle teat in there and you just stand there and hold it'," she recalled before they proceeded to attach it to the child's tummy with sticky tape.
The distraught mum says when she went to change her baby's nappy, it was filled with blood. When she started taking photos to document what was happening, she was told by a nurse that "it was just a virus."
"I was so verbally hostile that they had to get another matron on the shift… they were trying to cover something," she said.
Eventually, she was told she had to drive her sick son to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane herself. "We had no choice in making the decision to drive. We were told that it's not life threatening."
"As long as you are breathing you're fine in that hospital. If you take a turn for the worst, you have no way of surviving. None."
When she reached the Brisbane hospital with her baby she says he received immediate care and she was put at ease.
"Compared to Lismore Base this was more than a five-star hotel, it was a resort and it was a hospital," she said.
She says she now tells her friends and family not to go to Lismore Base and to drive straight to Brisbane. "Your kids are in a lot of danger if you go to that place."
The mum is now in the process of suing the hospital, including documenting her other experiences during her pregnancy with her son.
This article first published on Marie Claire.