OPINION: HUMAN LIFE IS PRECIOUS, HIGH TIME FOR NURSES TO IMPROVE SERVICE DELIVERY AND AVOID NEGLIGENCE

Monday, September 18, 2017

Is it incompetence, the absence of standardized equipment, negligence or improper quality control to apply staff audit and monitor patients’ complaint on the part of health Centre management; that leads to medical malpractices in The Gambia? Whichever is the case, a medical practitioner should know that human life is precious and must be treated with care and respect.

On the 10th of August, 2017 my wife (was in her ninth month of pregnancy) complaint of a stomachache and went to Jammeh Foundation for Peace Hospital at Bundung. She told them of her pain and discomfort as she was feeling. The nurse in charge at that moment prescribed some drugs after a urine test was conducted. She was asked to collect the drugs from the Pharmacy. Because of her pain, she returned to the prescriber of the drugs and said what next, am still in pain. She replied that,” just go and drink this medicine for five days, if the pain persist you come back here.” This was around 7 to 8 pm Thursday. I called her at 8pm and she said that she was still at the hospital. She reached home around 9pm. I asked her of the hospital report and she gave me the prescribed drugs form and said “They says let me drink these for five days and come back if the pain doesn’t stop. Amoxicillin, paracetamol, B complex and the fourth one I couldn’t identify from the hand writing was prescribed. 

Within 6 hours of return from the hospital at night, she started having complication and I rushed to looked for taxi. Before the taxi arrived, she was found delivered already in the room. The baby was not alive as noticed. We proceed to the same hospital for the separation of the Umbilical cord from the baby and her mother and for further medical attention. It took the two nurses 10 to 15 minutes or more to come to our attention. While waiting impatiently, the old woman that accompanied us had to get back to them with another call for attention. The male nurse went for the female one who was probably sleeping to get prepared, resulting to some delay. When the female nurse cut the Umbilical cord from inside the taxi, she just placed the baby carelessly on the taxi’s boot probably showing that it was not alive and doesn’t worth it. Death or alive human being is precious and should be treated with good manner and respect. There was a slight bang when she put it on the car’s back boot (trunk) and I nearly gave an unhappy reaction. The male nurse picked the baby gently from there and said ‘I don’t know what is wrong with this boy’?

It was around 3 am. They said that some stitching had to be done to the mother and there was no injection available for such medical care to be given unless daybreak and we need to pay for that injection. Early in the morning, they asked me to buy pads and pay a hundred dalasis for the injection without receipt. I did.

In the process of collecting the baby for burial, on the 11th August, 2017 around 11 pm; one nurse said “Normally one should not deliver at home”. There, the opportunity came for me to talk. I said, she came to you yesterday at 8 pm and you released her prescribing some medicine to take for five days to come back if the pain persist. I further said, you schedule on her maternity report card to come back for maternity report on 26th August, but because of stomachache she reports back to you on the 10th before your schedule date. You released her and within six hours she delivered. This is a culpable action.

You know that she was in her ninth month of pregnancy and such a patient shouldn’t be released, I told them. He tried defenselessly to cover their fault by saying that “but you should come if the pain continues.” I said, she came to you in pain and you released her in pain (while she told you am still in pain) assuring her to come back after five days. Didn’t you see us back within six hours after your released? I questioned. I told them that you have to accept your fault. I have to see your boss. I shall be back. At least the nurse or the doctor should know better. I told them. He said, we are going to see our records, normally the person should have conducted a test. We will talk within ourselves. He replied. Thus, we left them taking the death baby along with us.

Another carelessness is in their records. When my wife was released in the evening; I observed in the maternity report form that the sex of the baby was marked female instead of a male. Such records keeping would be faked. My wife said, she checked for herself and she too was surprise to see this on the report form. Seven of us unwrapped the baby before burial and saw that it was a male sex. The male nurse too said, “I don’t know what is wrong with this boy”? when he picked it up.

Anyway, the bottom line is that there are medical malpractices in many health centres, especially public ones. People are talking about it. Not even one person, but more told me, so and so was released only to come home and deliver. This publication is my own case and I honestly put it down the way it happened. Know it or not people are down grading your services as nurses in the community. They only approach you because they have little choices. You should be more professional, caring, patient, comforting, observant, and discipline as required by your profession. Hospital leadership should measure and monitor customer (patient) satisfaction and impact on its staff a sense of continuous improvement of services. Such is good Quality Management Principle.

I shall continue to accumulate my experience with evidence from anybody doing irregularities against one’s professional code of conduct and ethics, for public consumption and awareness; besides, further actions if necessary. I therefore urge everybody to do the same for the new Gambia to change in every sector. I write this for public eye opening so that nurses would desist from such bad practices and to prevent its happening again and to safe prospective victims. We have to do away with the culture of silence quickly being the factor allowing square pegs in round holes and abuses in our system. Everyone should be placed where she or he is suited. This way, we can survive in peace and dignity for our own good and that of our children. Such steps would determine the betterment of the future of our nation and people. Remember you should be judged in this world or in the hereafter by a mightier judge (who is perfectly just).  

Baboucarr Cham,
Nema Nasirr

Author: Baboucarr Cham