A pregnant woman was allowed to take her dog into a maternity ward in St Michael's Hospital, Bristol to watch her give birth. The hospital said the women was able to bring her dog, Barney, into the delivery suite because he is a certified therapy dog who regularly visits patients.
They said the dog's presence was discussed in advance and it was agreed by the hospital trust's infection control team that he could be in the room during labour as therapy for the woman, who has not been named.
A thorough clean of the delivery suite was carried out after Barney had left, the hospital said.
Reportedly, nurses and doctors "were appalled" and that it was the first time the staff could remember such a thing happening. Barney, understood to be a labrador, stayed for the birth along with the woman's partner and a midwife before the family left with their newborn child. Sarah Windfeld, head of midwifery at St Michael's Hospital, said: "Barney is a certified Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog and with his owner regularly attends to patients in hospital.
"PAT dogs are examined and passed on health, temperament, suitability and stability grounds and patients can benefit from their calming presence. His owner made the request to us at St Michael's Hospital 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 experts, we agreed to Barney sitting nearby in the delivery room. Thorough cleaning was done after the birth as is usual practice at the hospital. "