It was late one night in the 1990s. I was sitting in the back seat of a car.
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Doctors fail to save twin boys
Relatives are blaming the lack of equipment at the Mayaro Health Facility for the death of unborn twins, after a mother died on the way to the facility but doctors could not save her unborn children, who were initially still alive in her womb after her death. Eight-month-pregnant Sally Khan, 37, the mother of one, who suffered from hypertension, was taken to the facility around 6 pm on Monday, but was pronounced dead.
However, relatives yesterday claimed that after realising the woman’s twin boys were still alive in her womb, doctors and nurses could not do an emergency caesarian section to save the babies because they did not have the necessary resources. Speaking with T&T Guardian at their Mafeking Village home yesterday, Khan’s sister-in-law, Giselle Gajadar, said when Khan called out to her from her bedroom around 5 pm, she thought Khan was having labour pains.
“Well, she call out to me and when we gone she just drop on me and I put she back on the bed, and with that like she knock out and she start to froth and thing, and then I call my sister and she come,” she said. Gajadar said she then went to get a car to take Khan to the hospital. She said Khan was still frothing when they got to the facility.
Gajadar’s sister, Gillian, said: “By the time we reach they say they was not getting no heartbeat, but they stay a lil while before they tell we she dead. But they was feeling a movement on the baby and when they come out they say both mother and children dead.”
Although she had been hypertensive, Gillian Gajadar said Khan, a housewife, had not complained of feeling unwell during her pregnancy and was attending the prenatal clinic at the Mayaro facility. Calling on the Government to fully equip the hospital to provide wide-ranging services, Giselle Gajadar said: “Mayaro is not a small place. Mayaro is a big place. They suppose to do something to save people life, not have people like dog on the road.”
The nearest hospital to the family’s home, in Sangre Grande, is about 45 minutes away. Khan’s four-year-old daughter Jada has been told her mother has died. Her husband Gary Gajadar, who was at work when his wife collapsed, was too distraught to speak with the media yesterday. In a telephone interview yesterday, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan confirmed that the Mayaro hospital lacked the equipment to save the babies if they were still alive when their mother died.
He said he was awaiting a full report on the incident, but said the information he had was that Khan was taken to the facility unresponsive. He said he had received reports from the doctor and the CEO. “Though they were hearing heartbeats, if a pregnant woman is unresponsive—I cannot say she was brought in dead, because I was not there— therefore it is automatic that the babies will die because of lack of the flow of blood.”
He said, however, that he found it strange that a woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy, who was pregnant with twins and hypertensive, was not previously hospitalised at a major hospital. “The mother was in Mayaro. Somebody thought they were getting heartbeats. I indicated to them that they should have brought the woman to the Sangre Grande Hospital. It is possible that the babies may not have survived the journey, but one could have tried.”
The Mayaro facility, he said, had the equipment for resuscitating patients but not to do operations. However, he said he was working with the board to provide the hospital with the necessary equipment to provide all services.