A woman who was booked to have her baby in a private hospital got a shock when, in the rush to give birth, she could only make it to a public hospital, which she says failed to correctly store her baby's cord blood. She also said babies were not adequately protected from germs when they were moved out of the delivery ward. But Princess Margaret Hospital says cord blood collection is not a standard service, and the hospital has standard anti-infection measures. Mrs Chan, who declined to give her full name, said she had hoped to give birth at the private Matilda International Hospital on The Peak, where she had arranged to save some of her son's umbilical cord blood, a practice some parents follow in case it can be used to treat a disorder later. But on June 13, she went to Princess Margaret instead, where nurses accidentally contaminated the blood, she said. The only chance of collection was lost, she said. Nurses originally refused to collect the blood for her, saying it was 'not their job and they normally would not do it', Mrs Chan said. The nurses finally agreed to after some 'begging and arguing'. But instead of pumping the blood into a bag prepared by her private blood bank, the nurses put it into test tubes normally used to collect the mother's blood, she said. Unlike the bag, the test tubes had no special coating and no cover to protect against contamination, so the blood could not be stored, according to Simon Tsoi of Healthbaby, the blood bank Mrs Chan used. 'It is a lifetime regret,' first-time mother Mrs Chan, 31, said. 'The bags are clearly labelled. Anybody can do it. I do not understand why they could still do it wrong. 'Now I can just pray that my baby will grow up healthily.' She said that public hospitals 'had so much to improve upon'. 'It is the staff's attitude problem. If they cared to look at the labels carefully, there would not be a mistake.' A Princess Margaret Hospital spokesman said cord blood collection was 'not a standard provision ... except under very special circumstances', and that 'special arrangement and paediatrician's consultation are required'. In Mrs Chan's case, 'our nurses performed cord blood taking out of goodwill', he said. 'Both the patient and her husband were informed that ... proper collection procedure could not be guaranteed.' A Hospital Authority spokesman said cord blood was only collected at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Kwong Wah Hospital, for a donation bank. The procedures were done by staff of the Red Cross, and interested mothers were required to register. Mrs Chan was also worried that newborns were taken in a public lift from the delivery room to the maternity ward. 'The babies go up in their cribs, which have no covers, and they are too small to use a mask,' she said. 'It doesn't seem to make sense to us that newborn babies should be exposed to all types of germs straight after their birth, in order to reach the maternity ward.' She said staff also refused her request that she accompany her baby to the maternity ward, saying that it was 'standard process' that mothers and babies went separately. 'It's all so process driven and bureaucratic,' she said. A hospital spokesman said they would 'explore the feasibility to arrange the transportation of mother and baby together', but that 'the hospital maintained standard infection-control measures at all times'.