Firstly in the capacity of a Guyanese, a fully qualified member of the health profession and one who has spent over two decades in the field of obstetrics I was morbidly troubled by the circumstances related under the recent caption: Attitude towards premature baby troubling. (Stabroek News, April 19, 2017).
Again from out of the gates I am forced to ask what manner/ type of Obstetrics is being carried out in Guyana? When this mother went into labour, facts prior known that she was not at term, should she not have been given the care and treatment appropriate to a mother being delivered? Again how can a Birthing Centre be so ill –equipped as not to have an incubator ready to receive a premature arrival?
I received my Midwifery training at the famous Sorrento Maternity Hospital in Birmingham, England— A hospital that is reputed to be the first in England to have a Premature Baby Unit. This unit, the first of its kind became the forerunner of our present day special and Intensive Care Baby Unit. Babies 25 weeks have been delivered at the hospital, or travelled from elsewhere in England specifically to receive post-delivery care and have survived. Was this mother 25 weeks by date or by gestation?
If the statement alleged to be made by the doctor, regarding disposal of the foetus holds true, then he/ she should be held accountable for the manner of disposal of a human.
The Born Alive Protection Act enacted in 2002 by the US Government, provides a legal definition for personal human life extra utero (outside the uterus). Born alive is defined in the following manner, the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother of that member, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles” and further specifies that any of these is the action of a living human person. Is there any adherence or semblance of respect for the Hippocratic Oath? Is the special delivery receptacle referred to as a bin? Would they not want to preserve the foetus for examination and possible transmission of parts for genetic studies etc.?
Who was the male referred to, as having turned up the oxygen? Was he a nurse? Throughout the saga there is no mention of a paediatrician being present. Who constituted the team present during the delivery?
Oxygen given to a premature baby must be carefully and judiciously administered as high concentrations of oxygen in premature infants can cause abnormal formation of fibrous tissue behind the lens leading to a condition called retrolental fibroplasia.
This situation sadly casts a dark shadow on the entire nation, especially the government and how it treats the primary agents responsible for producing the next generation of leaders etc. I am calling on the Minister of Health, Guyana Medical Association and all relevant authorities, to fully investigate this matter.
Such a situation should not recur, as it clearly sends a message of fear to every female of childbearing age in Guyana. To quote from the Good Book: Proverbs 29: 18 -,Where there is no vision, the people perish and that includes the unborn.