A Green Hill man said he was frantically ringing the bell of the Maternity A ward to get the attention of the nurses inside, at the same time that his partner helplessly birthed their daughter on the floor of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in the early hours of last Sunday morning.
It is an experience he described as nothing short of traumatising and a result of “gross negligence” on the part of the nurses that were on call during that shift at the hospital.
The father is also calling for a written commitment from the government that they will assist in any medical issues that may arise as a consequence of his daughter being birthed head first on the concrete floor.
A video went viral over the weekend showing a woman sitting on a bench in the triage section of the Maternity A ward of the MCMH, with a small pool of blood on the floor between her legs and the cut umbilical cord hanging from her vagina.
Her boyfriend, who filmed the video could be heard saying “my child born on the ground there” as he angled the camera to the pool of blood between the woman’s legs. He also said the baby fell on its head.
The 52-year-old father sat on a bench on Tuesday with SEARCHLIGHT, much like the one his girlfriend sat on when she gave birth last weekend, to dispel rumours that have been circulating since the release of the video.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before…I’m hurt by it. I’m traumatised by it…every time I talk about what happened, it brings tears to my eyes because more things could’ve happened. Suppose my wife had bled to death? People say suppose – I don’t know nothing about it but I will mention it – suppose the birth had run cold in she?” the man queried, as he talked about the birth of his youngest daughter.
The Green Hill resident explained that he and his girlfriend arrived at the hospital at 11:45pm on April 17 after she said she was experiencing labour pains.
He told SEARCHLIGHT that he delivered her to the Maternity A ward and went to quickly park his car off the hospital compound. However, when he returned, his girlfriend was still outside.
When he inquired why, a nurse told him that his pregnant partner had to take a COVID19 test before being admitted to the ward.
The man said he asked how long until the test would be administered, knowing that his girlfriend, who has two other
children, does not take very long to deliver once she begins feeling labour pains.
“She [the nurse] say she don’t know how long. I say but suppose the baby born out here. She say like this, ‘let’s hope it doesn’t get to that. If it get to that, we are not to be blamed’,” the father said, recounting what happened that night.
He said the test was administered five minutes later but 15 more minutes went by and no one had come to check on his girlfriend.
It was at this time that the mother, who is in her 30s, said she wanted to urinate. When he looked, he saw blood running down her legs.
The pregnant woman took off her underwear and then told her partner that she felt like she needed to defecate.
“My say ‘gyel no, na tootoo…pickney ah come, hold on’. Me run and me go, me ring the bell again. I hold on pon that bell you know, I ring that bell you know. One the nurse peep out from in the ward, suck she teeth and go back in,” the baby’s father said.
He related that “there are people saying I should’ve assist her with the baby, me aint know nothing about baby. I was at the door trying to get the nurse them to come. Then me hear the baby bawl out. When me look back, the baby on the ground, drop batam, batam ping. That is when you see the nurse them running out like spring chicken.”
The father added that one nurse held the baby while the other cut the umbilical cord. They then took the baby inside.
But this was only the beginning of the Green Hill resident’s nightmare as, in his anger, did not realise that his girlfriend was left on the bench with the umbilical cord still inside her.
“When me do catch myself, about 15, 20 minutes, my girlfriend is still on the bench sit down with the umbilical cord heng out, no nurse studying she. That is when I recorded the video and said I was going to post it on social media so people could see what is going on, but I am not the one who posted it. I send it to her family members to see what go on, and one of them choose to post it,” he told SEARCHLIGHT.
He said both he and his girlfriend feel bad about the video going viral, particularly because of the condition she was shown in with her private parts on display.
He however noted that this was the condition that nurses left her in for at least 30 minutes after giving birth.
Following the video’s circulation, several stories have been making the rounds about what may have transpired that night.
In one instance, it is said that nurses offered the pregnant woman a bed but she refused it.
In another instance, it is said the woman was asked to take a COVID19 test but the husband refused, threatened to shoot staff and so nurses took cover to protect themselves.
The 52-year-old man strongly disputes both these claims.
He told SEARCHLIGHT that no offer was made for his girlfriend to have a bed, nor had any nurse come to do the necessary checks to see how far along she was in giving birth.
The man admitted that in his anger, he did say “if I had a gun on me, some ah dem dead here tonight”, but that he did not have a gun or intend to harm anyone.
Rather, he was venting about the situation.
The baby – a girl – came into the world a few weeks before her due date in May. Up to press time, she was in the pediatric ward being treated for jaundice.
The mother of the baby is also still a patient at the MCMH.
The father said the baby was taken to have scans done and he was later told that she did not sustain any damage from the condition of her birth.
“But oh God, something needs to be done down here…I just want to make sure that I get a commitment from the government and hospital in writing, that anything happen to my baby in the future – because you never know, the baby drop on concrete, what can happen, develop – that they will assist me or deal with it for me. That’s all I want,” he told SEARCHLIGHT, adding that he had no desire to sue, despite what others are advising him to do.
He is also calling for disciplinary action to be taken against the nurses on call during the time his baby was born.
“These things have been going on for too long and is not the hospital alone, is almost every government institution. They give you attitude when you go to them, just like if you begging them for something. If you…want to work in the healthcare service, you have to have love for people,” the father said.
He added that, “a lot of people out there are trying to take this into a political battle field…the government pays people in institutions to carry out their job. The government is not responsible for that. The responsibility lies on the individual. They are the perpetrators… you wouldn’t even treat a dog so. It was inhumane. You don’t treat people like that! You work in an institution, you are being paid to do something, do it.”
A release issued by the Ministry of Health on Sunday April 18 said: “we are currently conducting investigations into the events surrounding this unfortunate and unusual incident with an aim to implementing corrective measures where necessary to ensure that there is no repeat of such an incident”.