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Pregnant woman with Zika: I’m still waiting on specialists

Published: 
Wednesday, August 3, 2016

One of the 60 pregnant women infected with the Zika virus is countering claims by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh that the specialist unit set up to monitor their cases is affording them the best care once they are diagnosed with the virus. 

In fact, the woman, using her own case, told the GML Enterprise Desk she is yet to be seen by any specialist or get the ultrasound needed to ensure her baby is fine, adding she thinks not enough is being done to prepare her for the worst and believes the other patients may be fearing the same fate.

Deyalsingh made the comment on the weekend as he noted that Zika cases nationally had climbed to 200.

The pregnant mother, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised, said she was hospitalised for about a week as at first doctors thought she had dengue.

She was discharged only to receive a call from the hospital that it was in fact Zika. She said she has been given little information on microcephaly since then and has been doing research on her own to ease her fears over her unborn child.

“I was told by doctors Zika onlycaffects babies in the first trimester.cHowever, when I started to do mycresearch I saw that it can affect babiescin the third trimester. I have nocassurances and I am worried,” she said.

She added: “Since I was diagnosed all doctors gave me was panadol. The body pains are excruciating and it’s nearly going into three weeks to a month and I was not given an ultrasound.

“When I heard the minister statements that mothers diagnosed were given ultrasounds I was wary and my family was concerned as to whether if I was forgotten. Since I have been diagnosed it’s been an uphill battle. I don’t know if it’s my mind but I am feeling weird pains.”

The young mother said she also attempted to go to private medical institutions but most of them said her condition had to be treated at the public hospitals.

“All I received was a letter to go the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex only to be told that I would get a call to see a specialist doctor. I am still waiting,” she explained.

The specialist unit is headed by Dr Karen Sohan, Medical Chief of Staff at the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital. In an interview with the T&T Guardian over the weekend, Sohan said there had been no case of microcephaly found in the women screened so far.

Microcephaly is a medical condition where babies heads are abnormally small and is believed to affect babies in the womb in the first trimester.

The young mother said she hoped what was being portrayed in the public was in fact reality.

“I was not even given counselling or even told by practitioners in the hospital the risk of the virus I was diagnosed with and what are the consequences to me or even my baby. I am just here waiting. My only redress is to go on the Internet and learn more about Zika and microcephaly,” she said.

“I know the ministry is doing their part but for as a mother and the risk attached to my baby, I must be worried, especially when you don’t have any assurances that your baby will be fine,” she said. Since being diagnosed, the pregnant woman said she had to leave her job and had difficulty doing daily tasks.

“I hope that we can get it right in Trinidad and Tobago, at least where people can trust in a public institution because I am sure there are other pregnant women like me out there who are concerned just as me and want answers which are hard to come by,” she added.