The maternity nursing station was empty that morning. I found someone and asked where everyone was. “A baby… premature”. In the delivery room the activity was centered around a tiny bundle. Oxygen connected, a cannula in a hair-like vessel, counting drops of glucose water infusion. The baby was four hours old and for such a miniscule person he was doing well. He was pink and wriggling, and his chest rose and fell without significant effort. Perhaps there was hope?
Sick babies need to be “warm, wet, and sweet”, and we had arranged an overhead heater, a glucose drip and precautionary intravenous antibiotics. Time to check the weight. The midwife drew a breath as we saw the number on the scales settle – only 842g. The odds were stacked against this baby here in this environment. The mother who had given birth so rapidly at about six months gestation lay on the bed on the opposite side of the room.
It was later that morning that I heard the news. He had died. Too little.
Another morning at Galmi, and again the nurses station was strangely quiet. I found the midwife and nursing assistant in the emergency room. They looked concerned and were trying hard to get an IV cannula in a woman’s arm. For a split second my attention was on the arm and the vein, until my gaze shifted upwards. The colour was not right. She was not breathing. I put my stethescope on her chest and felt for a pulse. There was none.
The story came from the relatives and the midwives. She gave birth two days ago at home to a stillborn baby. There was bleeding. She had fevers and was unwell. Overnight she was a lot worse. Her family brought her to Galmi in desparation but she died soon after arriving. The inside of her eyelids gave the reason – they were completely white. She was severely anaemic from blood loss and malaria.
If only she had come earlier we could have helped. Too late.
Tragedy is a part of life here. But at Galmi Hospital there is hope. Every day the staff administer critical medicines, give lifesaving blood transfusions, and perform a wide range of surgery. God loves people, and the care given at Galmi demonstrates God’s love in action.
Please pray for Galmi Hospital where the story so often is “too little, too late”. To get involved and contribute, you can click here.