This is the story of Mary* a 20 year old lady from Nakuru who was allegedly forced to believe she had lost her pregnancy when her baby was still alive. And even she was induced into labor and she delivered the baby, doctors at a hospital she visited in the county may have done little to save the baby. In this piece we share the transcript of her testimony.
I used to go to a clinic at a different hospital, (before I came to this hospital). They used to treat me very well. They used to tell me that my baby is well positioned. But after a while my legs started swelling, so I was told may be it is because of standing for too long. They told me to keep on going for check up, but I decided to come to this other hospital so as to confirm if my baby is okay.
So at this second hospital, I was booked for consultation and the doctor told me that swelling of legs during pregnancy is normal. The doctor however told me that if I have enough money, I can go for a scan. I told him I have enough money and I was booked for the scan. The scan (allegedly) indicated that the baby was not breathing (sic).
I asked what that means and I was told that it shows the baby is dead. When I asked what I will do next, I was advised that I would be admitted in the hospital and then have the doctors assist me ‘remove’ the baby. But all this time I would feel like the baby was moving inside me. I told the doctors but they would not listen to me. So they induced me into labor.
On the first day, no one attended to me. I was induced on the second day. I waited. On the first day after they induced me, nothing happened, so they induced me again on the second day, and still nothing happened. When they discovered this, they doubled the dose and I went into labor. It took me about 6 to 7 hours.
I had been told initially that once I get into labor I should move to a delivery bed that I was shown. When I pushed the baby, the baby came out alive and cried so much before falling down. It took about 30 minutes for the doctor to come. It was at night and those on shift were asleep, so I was assisted by one of the patients with whom I was admitted who went to call them.
When the doctor came, the baby was not attended to but continued to lie on the floor. I was attended to first. the doctor then told me, “I don’t think your baby will make it.” I asked for the reason but no explanation was given. The baby then yelled so loudly and I told the doctor, “but how come you are saying the baby will not make it yet he is alive?”
I had told the doctor that I want to go to the toilet, so I was told to just go. By the time I came back, the baby had been taken to an incubator. I rested on the bed and the doctor gave me some medication while telling me that it will take the mercy of God for the baby to survive. I kept on asking what the baby’s problem is but the doctor was not giving me any clear information that I could understand.
The next morning I was called to go and see the baby and saw that all was well. I asked the doctor at the incubator if anything was wrong and I was told I should just pray as the baby was very small. I had gone in the morning. So in the afternoon that day, I was called to go and see the baby again only to find that the baby was dead. I confirmed that the baby was dead, as the baby had even been placed out of the incubator and when I checked I saw for sure the baby was dead. After that I went back to the ward and was given some pain killers. Till now no doctor has attended to me more than 24 hours.
I came to the hospital on Tuesday last week. The doctors have been giving me medication and they are asking me if I am in pain. They have not given me the body of the baby and they have not even told me where it is but it’s okay. I don’t want to go bury the baby. I just saw the body and left. It’s very painful. There were rumors that other mothers have gone through an experience such as mine. But I confirmed with one of the ladies and I realized that hers was a miscarriage.
For now I am just waiting. I don’t know when I will be discharged. One of my relatives, my uncle, asked the hospital what I should do but they told him to stop disturbing them.
What I am asking from the hospital is to let me go. I was not ready for this. Now I have a hospital bill to clear yet we were not ready for it now. We were to get ready by the ninth month. I am in pain and sorrow but I will be strong. What can I do? Even if the doctors ‘killed’ my baby, what can I do? They can’t bring the baby back to life. What can I do? I however don’t mind if someone asks the hospital on my behalf about my predicament.
This is not the first time that doctors have allegedly pronounced dead a baby before its time. While the foetus Mary was caring was pronounced dead before birth, recently, a baby who had been pronounced dead after birth in Nyamira was rescued just before relatives could conduct its burial rites.
But as Mary’s case is investigated and confirmed one of the questions that needs to be answered is whether doctors at this hospital killed her baby at the incubator to prove that it would not survive.
In our next post, we will give details of the hospital.