Recently - 7 days ago to be precise. I received a phone call from my sister (sister in-law in fact hey, what's the difference?) . She was heavily pregnant and i had been warming up for a godmother role (no rival!). She sounded distressed and wanted to know what she should do. I joggled my stale obstetrics knowledge and told her what she described to me over the phone was "meconium- stained liquor". In lay man's term- the baby was in distress and needed to be delivered PRONTO/ASAP. I encouraged her to return to her hospital immediately. She did.
I was comforted by this fact and slept believing all was well- it was NOT. 12 hours after presenting at the hospital, she had not been reviewed by her obstetrician. I urged her to move to another hospital as soon as she could. Before the move could be effected, the doctor showed up (16 hours after her obstetric emergency presented). She had emergency Caesarean section one hour later- baby was dead at birth.
Pray tell me.......
- Would the doctor have shown up earlier if this case was his family member?
- Would the doctor have responded promptly if she had presented to his private hospital and not the general hospital where he works?
- Should we ensure litigation/and proper redress sought with the heaviest possible penalty doled out?
- How many more women and unborn babies have been victims of this recklessness and conscienceless approach to work?
- how many more people will pay dearly for avoidable human errors like this?
- Who will be next victim.
- Ask Questions! Ask Questions! Ask Questions!
- Know your options! Know your options!
- Have several possible lines of action lined up -Plan A, Plan B, Plan C......
- If you present to a hospital in an emergency situation no doctor is immediately on ground is immediately on ground to attend you to, leave and exercise your options.
- Ask other pregnant women where they booked and what informed their choice of their hospital.
- If it is a high risk pregnancy:
- 1st pregnancy at age >30 years.
- Previous still birth.
- Bad obstetrics history-previous miscarriages.
- Diabetes in pregnancy.
- Pregnancy induced hypertension
- Multiple pregnancy
- Previous Cesarean section.
Ensure that your doctor is a CONSULTANT GYNECOLOGIST.
Ask about his/her travel history- is he/she often out of town? Who covers for him when he is away?
Is there a standby generator?
Is there collaboration with a nearby blood bank in the event of an emergency?
Is there a doctor available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? This is the best practice for any obstetric hospital.
When in doubt, register in another hospital after due verification.
If you have had any good or bad experience in a medical facility anywhere in Nigeria, please share it with lessons in it for all to learn.