Women's Issues In Guyana


Maternity ward patients’ horror stories

Posted in Health Issues by wiig on April 16, 2006
Tags: , , ,

Kaieteur News – April 16, 2006

Linda Sandiford, a mother from Berbice, went to the New Amsterdam hospital in labour. She was pregnant with her second child and anticipated that all would be well.  Little did Sandiford know that thanks to a sleeping nurse, she would have to deliver her baby unaided.

Sandiford said that she was admitted around 18:30hrs and was examined and given a bed.  She said the nurse who attended to her told her that it would be quite some time before she would be ready to deliver.

According to Sandiford, she therefore used the time between contractions to unpack her bag and chat with other patients in the ward.

Sandiford said that at about 20:45hrs, the contractions were very close and she informed a nurse.

The nurse examined Sandiford and told her to go to the maternity room where she was given a bed and left alone.

“The nurse told me that I must shout and call her if I feel anything coming down. That night I called her until I had no strength left. After I felt my baby coming out I shifted my position on the bed so that it would not fall,” she recalled.

In order to attract attention, Sandiford reached across to a bed behind her and began to raise it and drop it back unto the ground.

“I stretched across to the bed that was behind me and started to lift it up and drop it back on the ground. I did that a number of times and a patient who could not sleep with the ruckus I was creating came to the delivery room to see what was happening.

“I was all over in blood from the birth and from straining to lift the bed. The other patient took one look at me and ran to find the nurses.”

Sandiford said when the nurses eventually came it was 01:00hr and the baby had already been delivered.

She said the woman who came to her rescue told her much later in the ward that she found the nurses asleep in front of the television in the adjoining ward.

Many other maternity ward patients have similar horror stories to tell about their experiences in the maternity ward at public hospitals.

Another mother, who was a patient at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, said that after her experience at the maternity ward, she thinks that any woman should reconsider delivering a child there.

She was hospitalised at the institution for an extensive period of time following health complications while she was pregnant with her third child.

“While in there the doctor had prescribed pain killers for me but when the nurses were running the ward no one checked my chart. When I realised that I was not given the tablets I told the nurse and she said that she was finished sharing the tablets and so I had to wait until the tablets are being distributed sometime later,” the mother said.

According to her, when she was ready to deliver she went to the nurse and informed her that she felt as if the baby was coming.

“The nurse told me to go back and lie down because she just check me. By that time I couldn’t move because I felt as if the baby was already in my passage to come out. I finally managed to get back to the bed and when I climb back on the bed, the baby came down further. A patient next to me started shouting and the nurse finally brought a wheel chair,” the woman said.

By the time she got into the chair, the woman said, the baby came out and fell on the floor.

“The only reason why I didn’t make a fuss about it was because the doctor checked the baby and said that she was okay,” she added.

While there, she added, another woman gave birth to a baby which also fell to the floor.

She said that she later learnt that the baby’s shoulder was fractured and the child died.

Kaieteur News spoke with yet another woman who also said that her baby fell shortly after birth.

The woman said that while at the hospital her new born baby girl appeared to be having difficulties breathing.

“When I saw how she was acting I picked her up and ran to the nurse but she paid me no mind and just continued doing what she was doing when I went to her,” the woman said.

Angry, hurt and disappointed at how she was treated, the woman said that she “created a scene” in the ward, put the baby in the nurse’s (hand) and made her way to the Ward Sister.

“When I return with the Sister, the nurse was frantically looking for a doctor. When I look for my baby I saw that she was taking oxygen,” the woman recalled.

In a letter to the editor published recently, a husband said he took his wife to the West Demerara hospital when she was in labour in March 2005.

He said that while the nurse slept, his wife delivered the baby on the floor.

The man said he awakened the nurse and when she saw his wife, she sucked her teeth and murmured something about “you people.”

“She ordered my wife very roughly to get up (with the after birth still in her) and walk to the labour room,” he said.

These two women are alive and had not suffered any ill effects from their experiences.

On the other hand a family has not gotten over the death of their daughter who recently lost her life after delivering herself at the West Demerara Regional Hospital .

Jameila Hodge delivered her baby girl in the open ward at the hospital without the assistance of any medical personnel, despite screaming for hours for help.

Her relatives were told that the young woman had called out to the nurses repeatedly but none went to her assistance.

One patient said when the nurses finally went to Hodge, the baby was already born and the young woman was bleeding excessively.

She died shortly after from complications that led to Hypovolemic shock. This is a type of shock in which the heart is unable to supply enough blood to the body. According to a doctor, the complications that led to Hypovolemic shock were conditions that occur when a person’s heart goes into arrest.

Janeila Hodge died leaving a one-week-old baby girl and a three-year-old daughter.

There are several other cases of women who have had similar experiences but many are reluctant to speak.

The experiences of mothers over the years have raised eyebrows about the public health care system, and raised questions about the leading cause for maternal deaths in the country.

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