This is a true story of a lady in my hospital. The following tale is not for the faint-hearted.
Madam E is a 37 year-old Indonesian lady who has a child back in her homeland. She is unsure of the baby’s father. A few months ago, she entered Malaysia illegally while she was heavily pregnant. She is also unsure of this baby's father. She came to a small estate near T.I and stayed here with a few men. All she knew was that she was looking forward to delivering this child and resuming her usual work. What kind of work, I am not sure though.
A few days ago, she came to the hospital bleeding and holding a baby in her arms. An umbilical cord was dangling out from her. She looked pale and almost unconscious from the ongoing hemorrhage.
As we checked her and her baby, we realized that the child was no longer alive. Then we discovered a gruesome tale. Apparently, this lady was unbooked and uncared for throughout her pregnancy, She couldn’t remember how long was her pregnancy and she didn’t seek any medical help in this entire period. On that eventful day, her water broke and she delivered her baby all by herself in the run-down shack she was sharing with a few other men. Being left all alone, she didn’t know what to do. In fact, this is her first ‘natural’ delivery as her first child was delivered via Caesarean section in Indonesia.
We didn't know what crossed her mind at that point but in her panic, Madam E knew that she had to detach the umbilical cord. With a massive pull, she tore the umbilical cord in half but neglected to tie the baby’s end of the cord. As she held her baby, the baby bled to death. From its own umbilical cord. In the meantime, she was also bleeding away as her placenta was still in her body. The men returned home from work and discovered the gory spectacle. They rushed her to the hospital.
As she was in need of blood transfusion and urgent removal of the retained placenta, she was rushed to the theatre. However, it was a difficult operation and along the process, her womb was removed. The reason why the surgical team was called in was because her ureter and bladder (2 urinary organs near the womb) was injured. We repaired the damage and sent her off for further urological care in Klang Valley as soon as she was out of the theatre and stable for transportation. Currently, she is doing very well, minus a womb and a baby.
The mortality rate for mothers and newborn babies in this country has been kept low for many years. It is a testament of our country’s development and it is an indicator of the healthcare system in our country. In fact, Malaysia has been cited and praised by WHO and many global bodies for our efforts in improving the maternal and children healthcare.Yet, when this kind of incident happen in our land, we always ask ourselves whether we should be more vigilant in protecting our borders against illegal immigrants so that ‘aliens’ wouldn’t misuse and abuse the public facilities, etc.
On the other hand, the basic tenet of medical care has always stress on providing universal healthcare for all, especially refugees and those seeking asylum. So how about this lady? At the present moment, we are providing the best professional services for her but how does a Malaysia lay-person feel about this issue? The debate will never end.
P.S.: The pictures have nothing to do with the story. It’s just some fillers to add in some colour.