Sunday, October 07, 2012

Everyone Counts in the Slum

Everyone Counts, October 5, 2012
(Photo by John Carroll)

Do four pound babies in one of the worst slums in the world really count?

It seems they do.

This precious little girl was born on Friday morning but was having trouble breathing by mid-afternoon.

So the nurses in the OB Ward wrapped up this baby, handed her to her sore sixteen year old mom, and told her to go to Pediatrics.

Mom carried the baby alone as she ambled over to Peds which was in a different building about twenty yards away.

A Peds nurse unwrapped the baby and pronounced the baby dead. She was cyanotic and not breathing or moving.

Another "health care provider" grabbed the baby and administered "bouche-a-bouche" (mouth-to-mouth) resuscitation.

The young mom watched showing no emotion whatsoever.

The little baby with no name started to breathe and move and she turned pink. And parents in the Pediatric Ward stretched their necks and watched from their own baby's miserable cribs.

A tiny nasal prongs was taped into the newborn's nostrils and attached to a huge five foot paint-peeling oxygen tank near by. Three liters of oxygen streamed into her airway.

A tiny bore nasogastric tube was passed and the baby's abdomen was decompressed to help her diaphragm work easier.  A 24 gauge IV was placed on one attempt into the back of her right hand. Sugar water dripped in.

The baby opened her left eye and looked around.

Her respirations were fast but her color was good and pink.

Throughout this effort, the Haitian nurses and doctor talked like usual, even joked, but no one screamed or yelled or went crazy. There was definite respect for this little life on the edge.

Life is important in the slum.

John A. Carroll, MD



No comments: