The Doctor

Diaries of a Doctor Chapter 3

It’s 3pm on a hot Wednesday afternoon, and suddenly screams accompanied with audible sounds of labour pain greeted my resting ears. Clearly struck by this, I rush out to see an unregistered 38-year-old woman, accompanied by her anxious husband who evidently is in a state of confusion but battling to maintain his sense of calm.

At this moment, waiting for words or an explanation was not the priority as she was admitted into the labour ward without delay. Physical examinations commenced, vitals were logged, and we kept her stable enough to build a medical history in preparation for a safe childbirth. In the midst of the pandemonium caused by the series of sharp spasm of pain, she reached for my hand and said doctor “will I hold this child? Will I have a normal birth? Will……?”  Suddenly, she passed out.

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Successfully resuscitating her, I noticed a scar on lower left side of her stomach, and probed. She revealed her last two children were delivered via a caesarean section, while still narrating, in the heat of the moment, she fell into labour. without any further delay, the patient was wheeled into the surgical theatre after taking consent from her husband. 

Surgery began and about 20 minutes into the procedure, she suddenly became pale due to acute blood loss from blood vessels which had lost their haemostatic properties (). The surgical team battled fiercely to arrest the bleeding which lasted for about an hour at the same time transfusing her with at least 4 units of fresh whole blood to replace the loss. 

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After about 3 to 4 hours of surgery, sounds of cries filled the theatre as I held the tiny hands and feet of this beautiful baby. I was very grateful to God, that our efforts and intervention was not in vain, mother and baby came out of surgery with stable vital signs and after 7days both parties were discharged, and subsequent clinic follow up was prescribed. 

As a medical practitioner and specialist one of my goals in the medical field and Nigeria at large is to advocate for primary mode of prevention in complications of childbirth and maternal mortality. The first two decades of my life were in northern part of Nigeria, and I have seen first-hand, the face of maternal mortality, as this is an ordeal in the North. This region is popular for having the poorest health care system in the country, due to the high level of illiteracy and porous educational system.

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Through active involvement in the above services, I and other committed specialists can achieve the aim of reducing maternal mortality rate to an insignificant level, through the provision of adequate and proficient delivery services, medical screening and elimination of modifiable risk factors.

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