Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pikin don die...

My Monday morning started off in the worst possible way this week.

I was handing out tickets to the children waiting outside the gate.

Half way through the line our security guard walked towards me.

He was holding a child and said “Doctor, look at this one”.

I glanced at the child and said “Oh no, emergency”.

I took a better look and saw that the child was not breathing.

In Krio I said “this pikin* don die”.

I quickly realized I had said this aloud in the midst of a crowd.

And I had not yet seen the mother.

I told the guard we needed to go inside with this baby and the family.

Once in the clinic, it was confirmed that the little girl had died.

Resuscitation with bag and mask was attempted but quickly seemed pointless.

I then proceeded to tell the mother her child had died.

She wept and kept talking about the operation she went through.

I guess the child was delivered by C-section.

Was she thinking of the pain/effort she went through for this child?

Apparently they arrived at the gate at 4am.

The child came because of difficulty breathing.

And stopped breathing shortly before the gate opened.

The mother’s aunty and aunty’s husband were also present.

Why so many adults?

It is usually a sign of serious illness.

For some reason multiple family members show up when a child is near death.

All of a sudden everyone is concerned.

Unfortunately sitting outside of a closed outpatient clinic was not helpful.

4 hours of sitting and waiting.

Why didn’t they go to the Children’s hospital?

The child should have been admitted in the night!

Instead they chose to come to see a doctor here.

And in the end all I could do was confirm the child had died.

The next hour was spent sorting out a death certificate.

And a permit for burial.

Meanwhile the waiting room was full and other children were being sent away.

My colleague and I proceeded with the consultations.

Later, after paying $5 for the certificates, the paper work was done.

And the family could head home.

Due to a transport strike we decided to take the family home.

As I followed the family out to the car I held a little bundle in my arm.

Earlier that day a bundle of life and joy now a lifeless little girl.

One month and two days old.

Very sad.

Yet I was comforted that the mother asked to hold her baby.

It showed me that actually she did love her little girl.

But I could also tell she knew this would be the last time she would hold her.

*pikin = krio for ‘child’

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My heart aches for the mother and family of this little one. My heart also aches for you, my little girl, who has such love and compassion to continuously reach out, in the midst of dealing with the "why" questions and a waiting room full of other little ones who need care. My love and prayers are with you. Mama

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~