24-hr maternity services planned for East Coast hospital

-two years after barbershop delivery

Two years after a barber was forced to deliver a baby after no one at the nearby CC Nicholson Hospital could aid a woman in labour, the Ministry of Health has announced that the hospital would soon have around the clock maternity services.

“Plans are afoot to make the CC Nicholson Hospital a 24-hour delivery service subject to the availability of medical personnel,” was the response given by Minister of Health Dr. Bheri Ramsaran to a written question posed by APNU Parliamentarian Dr. Karen Cummings.

She had directed questions to Ramsaran on whether plans were afoot to make the hospital a 24-hour delivery service given that a mother had stated that her baby had to be delivered in the vicinity of a barbershop with the assistance of the barber.

The CC Nicholson Hospital at Nabaclis, East Coast Demerara (Government Information Agency photo)
The CC Nicholson Hospital at Nabaclis, East Coast Demerara (Government Information Agency photo)

On the 23th of June, 2012, barber Devon Sam, who operates his business at Nabaclis, a few yards away from the hospital, was forced to deliver a baby boy after there was no one to attend to the mother at the hospital, and the parents stopped at his business place seeking help.

Nandy Collins, the mother of the baby had told Stabroek News of a harrowing experience in which she almost gave up on the birth of her first son. She had begun having labour pains around the 22nd of June at her Ann’s Grove home and was headed to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) in the city but because of excruciating pains stopped short at Nabaclis.

When she and her husband arrived at the hospital, there was no one on duty. In desperation, her husband began seeking assistance from persons living along the streets leading to the hospital, while his wife cried out in pain. He stopped at the barber’s to ask if he knew of any midwife or nurse and their son chose that instance to enter the world.

The quick thinking barber delivered the baby as the panicked husband looked on and Collins was subsequently taken to the GPH. Ramsaran had informed that his ministry and personnel at the Dr CC Nicholson Hospital were “pained by the experience” and that his ministry would be looking into the report of the delivery as the hospital had been successful in its operations since it re-commenced in 2010.

Cummings had also asked about the results of the report, which the ministry said revealed no need for disciplinary action. A copy of the report was made available to parliamentarians and the media.

The report, prepared by then hospital administrator Dr. Ameeka Breedy, states that on the day of the events the pregnant mother and her husband had arrived at the hospital and inquired if a midwife was on duty but was told no by the security guard and they left immediately.

However, while there was no staff at the facility, the report says that the night shift ambulance driver, Samuel Paul, was present with the security guard. The report says that if the couple had stated their medical emergency the result would have been different. ”I believe that if this young lady and man had stated the exact nature of the situation, they might have been invited to have a seat inside the facility, where the ambulance driver would have assisted by calling on the doctor or someone of the nearby staff members via phone,” it said.

“Also, if such communication had been established with the doctor or nearby staff of the facility the ambulance driver could have been instructed to take the patient to the GPHC,” the report added.

Further, the report points out that the staff of the hospital were very upset at the incident since they felt it could have been avoidable.

The doctor pointed out too that the hospital was understaffed and requested of the ministry to address issues facing the hospital.

“There are several recommendations that can be made but it will take me a couple more pages to summarize all of our setbacks at the Dr. CC Nicholson Hospital. However I do suggest that the matter of lack of sufficient staff (doctors, medex, midwives, nursing staff, pharmacist, ambulance driver, porters and janitors) be corrected as soon as possible if the CC Nicholson Hospital is to truly operate as a hospital,” the report stated.

The Ministry of Health says that in addition to the 24-hour daily service an incubator will be requested in the 2015 budget for the hospital.

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