“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day Nine 6/1/2010

Today I went to the maternity ward to visit my roommate Niaveh, and I was only planning on staying for about 5 minutes, but plans changed once I got there. She was back in the delivery room, looking after this newborn girl. She was 3 weeks past her due date, so already we could tell there were some developmental problems. Her pupils were dilated, she didn’t follow our finger with her eyes, and when we got close to her eye she never blinked. She had been born in the early morning hours and we get to work around 9 and she was just left all alone in the delivery room with no monitors hooked up to her to watch her and her breathing nose tube was made for a child not a newborn so it didn’t even fit. Niaveh came to work and not one person in the maternity ward seemed to care that she couldn’t breathe or that there was something definitely wrong with her. So we stayed there all day, watching her struggle for air with each breath she took and when the doctor finally came to make rounds, this little girl was the very last person he saw. So Niaveh and I made her comfortable, fit the breathing tube in her nose and walked away for about 10 minutes to see another procedure, when we returned she had turned almost white/blue, didn’t have a heartbeat that we could feel and the only sounds she made were when we pushed on her abdomen region the little air left in her lungs would escape. It was terrifying, and no one came to help us, we were in charge of making sure she was ok. It was painful to watch as the nurses and midwives just walked past us and they did nothing for her. I mean it is clear she is going to die and maybe we were just prolonging what was going to happen anyway, but I was not about to walk away from her during my shift and let her choke to death on her own spit. So here Niaveh and I are doing CPR on this baby with equipment that is not functioning at all, and the doctor finally comes back and we are like, “what do we do?” He tells us that she will need to be on a ventilator (which wasn’t going to happen) so nothing really, and we were asking if we should be helping her breath with the oxygen bag and he just responded with “well if you want too.” No, what do you want us to do! It’s clear that us volunteers working in the hospital setting need to make life or death decisions for ourselves, so Niaveh and I got her back. But we knew what was going to happen once we left, no one checked on her when we were there and once we left, she would die. We watched her take her last breaths of air and it was heartbreaking to see this little life end so fast, but maybe even more disturbing was the way the staff there views life and who is “worthy” of saving or not. I realize that they don’t have the equipment or even the proper medical staff to do things, but maybe if whoever told the mother to “come back when she felt labor pains,” knew better the little girl might not of been more almost a month late.
After that day, my roommates and I decided that a got hike was in order, so we hoped a Tro to a nearby town and climbed Bodi Falls. WOAH, was some parts pretty intense and just straight rock to climb up. We were all sucking air and pretty tried when we reached the top to a place called Umbrella Rock, which is you look at the pictures above, it’s a fitting name. It took about 40 minutes to get to the top and then we hiked to a little further in to see the 3-headed palm tree. Then we started our climb back down to see Bodi Waterfall, once we got to the bottom, we had to climb down 250 steps, but it was worth it. In the pictures you can see it is a twin waterfall and the bigger one is the female and the other the male. It was about 6pm so we decided to head home! It was good to get that hike in to release some of that energy after being in that maternity ward, but I’m heading there in a week so I better be prepared to see that more often.

1 comment:

  1. What an unfortunate experience. The hospital staff and doctors should have been reported. That child could have survived if they willed and although it may be indeed true that the they may not have had an incubator they could have at least transferred the baby to a different hospital. It is though a shame that the Mampong Hospital doesn't have an incubator.
    At least the mother could have sat with her baby till she left. It would be nice to have known who the mother was and why the staff had acted this way, it is a very unfortunate behavior. And for your own you can look into the customs of some to understand why it was possibly easy to let the child go. Sad day, it that is what makes up the statistics for infant morbidity at birth.