The health services at the General Hospital in Grenada has again been placed under a microscope following the unfortunate death of thirty-two-year-old, Shanique Matthews and her 10-pound baby boy within hours of each other and her best friend who claims to have stood with her throughout what she described as a terrible, painful and sad ordeal, is attributing the deaths to blatant unprofessionalism and don’t-care attitude by the doctors and other medical officials.
Ms Matthews was from Clifton in Union Island but had been living on Carriacou for the last eleven years; a well-known cosmetologist, an account given by her best friend was written by Rawle Paterson of the Grenada informer.
Her best friend and coworker, Aria Andrew who was with her from the moment she left Carriacou for the hospital, said that the circumstances that unfolded in front her very eyes still bring nightmares to her and questions why in 2017, not 1720, two persons should lose their lives in such a manner.
She said Ms Matthews who always made weekly checks to the Health Center during her pregnancy was due to give birth on Thursday, November 9th. When the birth didn’t occur on schedule, she went back to the doctor the following day and was informed that the baby was extremely large. She was advised to go to the General Hospital in Grenada in case any complications arose during birth.
She said that the doctor did a heartbeat check and the baby was doing well.
“The baby’s heartbeat was strong and powerful”, she reported the local doctor as saying and he told the expectant mother to check into the General Hospital on Monday.
Andrew said that she accompanied Matthews to the mainland on Sunday, November 12th and the following day went to the General Hospital with her where a nurse told them that such clinics are held on Tuesday. She said they left the hospital and returned on Tuesday.
“We got there after 6 the morning. While there she went into labour and they took her down to the maternity ward”. It turned out the hospital had already received communication from Carriacou that Matthews was at risk and so needed to be closely monitored; Ms Andrew told Informer’s Inside Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
She said that on Wednesday morning Matthews called her to ask her to purchase some medication as the doctor had told her that they wanted to induce labour.
Andrew said she purchased the medication and brought it to the doctor.
She said that as she and Matthews were sitting in the walkway the doctor passed Matthew asked him when she was going to get the medication.
Andrew said that she asked the doctor why he wasn’t giving Matthews the medication on that day because she had been going through quite a lot of discomfort. The doctor, she said replied that he had already told the expectant mother that he was going to give her the medication the following day, Thursday.
Andrew said that Thursday, Mathews asked her to come about midday, which she did.
“When I arrived she was already in deep, deep pain”.
“They (doctors and nurses) went into the room to check on her and the baby was doing well because they kept on checking his heartbeat while she was in labor. She had by that time received the medication”, said Ms Andrew.
After several hours Andrew said, she met with her friend again as the staff had told her that she had to wait for the next visiting period.
“When I met her she said, “that baby feeling funny like it twisting itself. Like it in distress”, said Andrew.
Andrew said that she reported this to a nurse who replied that she could not check the patient every minute but only every four hours as they are working on a time schedule.
“Having recognized the pain and suffering that Shanique (Ms Matthews) was undergoing, the other patients on the ward began to make noise because they felt that it was ‘slackness’ on behalf of the doctor and nurses”, she added.
She said that Matthew asked her to accompany her when she is going up to the labour ward.
“They asked her to lie on one side, although I know one had to walk around to encourage labour”, said Andrew.
“After six they told me that they were not getting the baby’s heartbeat and that they were trying to do an ultrasound.
“No heartbeat they said and they were going up to the next floor. “I asked them where the wheelchair was or some cart to carry her up the stairs.
“They said no because there is no orderly on the ward and instead made her walk to the emergency room, which is way at the top of the Maternity Ward,” she said.
Later I saw the nurse and asked if everything was all right with the baby?
“The Doctor would talk to you. She was five centimetres dilated and had five more to go.
“The doctor eventually passed her and did not tell her anything.
“Doctor you passing and not telling me nothing. Is the baby alright”, she recalled asking.
This time he replied in a sharp tone “unfortunately the baby has died, and he just walks away. He didn’t explain nothing to me”.
Andrew said shortly after, a nurse told her that they had been hearing the baby’s heartbeat and suddenly it stopped.
She said when Matthews was fully dilated she went in as the patient had requested that she be there with her.
“I held her hand and she said you know the baby died again and I told her don’t worry you young you can have more”. Matthews had undergone two previous miscarriages.
She said Matthews told her that the doctor said that she would have to make the baby naturally. However, for hours she forced, sweated and was in pain and nothing was happening.
Ms Andrew said she then told the nurse to inform the doctor and take the patient to the theatre because it was proving difficult for her to push out a big ten-pound dead baby.
All this time she said the nurse was forcing Matthews to try harder and harder.
“They had her pushing for more than four hours”, Andrew disclosed.
After all this, she said the nurse finally decided to call the doctor.
When the doctor arrived she was ordered to leave the room but she stayed close to the outside where she could listen to what was occurring.
“When the doctor came he had her pushing again and this was well after 11 in the night.
“She crying O God I can’t make it cut me and take it out.
“After that, I heard her make a loud scream as the baby came out.
“They now take this dead baby and put it in her arms and she was crying”.
Shortly after she said, she saw consultants, doctors and nurses running up and down, some wheeling trollies.
“Heard them saying in a frantic voice, it must have this, it must have that.
“Shortly after one of the nurses came out saying, you all know what you all did, what all you rushing me for now. Don’t rush me.” And she was watching me.
“Shortly after I saw them passing with two bags of blood in their hands. “Two persons then passed with a machine and I heard them telling her “stay with us, stay with us, stay with us”, said Ms Andrew; moved to tears in recalling the events.
She said by that time she began to pray to God to please spear her friend’s life, as the baby is already dead.
“But deep inside something was telling me that she was gone. “This funny sad, sad feeling just took over me as I knew that something was wrong”, she pointed out.
“This was way past midnight into Friday morning as they were running each and every way”.
Andrew said after that there was quietness then persons began emerging from the room, staring at her.
“Doctor coming out and they all watching me”, she recalled.
She said she then asked one of the nurses if her sister was fine; (she normally referred to her as the sister because of the close bond they had shared for years).
“The nurse said the doctor would come and talk to me”, she reported.
Shortly after she said, the female doctor (looked Cuban) called her into a room and asked her to take a seat. The room she said contained about five other persons; doctors, consultants among others.
She said after they had introduced themselves she demanded of them why was she was called into the room.
“You know your sister’s baby had died? She said, “yes you all had told me that.
“Well she happened to push out the baby and the placenta and unfortunately she started to bleed and we tried our best to control the bleeding and that was unsuccessful and there is nothing we could have done”.
“We sorry we lost her,” she said.
She said that she told them that this couldn’t be real, as the baby had died and now the mother.
Andrew said that she asked them why they had not asked for blood, as her blood type is O-Negative.
“You all killed her child and now her, this cannot happen and I got up in a rage and just went crazy”, she said with tears in her voice.
“I was upset as I know that if they had done what they had to, both mother and son would have been alive today.
The next day she said they called a meeting with her and Matthew’s boyfriend and informed them that they are investigating the matter.
However, up to the time of this interview, they were still awaiting the result of the investigation.
She said that following the postmortem they had a serious challenge to get the results.
“When I called, “they giving me attitude”, said Ms Andrew.
She said that they to contract the services of a law firm before they could have finally gotten the cause of death.
“The autopsy was done on both mother and child the Friday”, said Ms Andrew who was a former carnival queen.
“The morning we called the lawyer; the evening the autopsy was signed and sent to us.
She said that the postmortem listed four different causes of death; among them shock and having bled to death.
Andrew said that the health system in the country is frightening and is calling on the authorities to step forward to ensure that when people enter the General Hospital, they walk out better than they went in and not in a body bag for matters that could be easily and successfully be remedied.
However, she said throughout the sad episode there was one nurse who stood with her and was kept calling on the doctors to do a C-Section and take the baby rather than calling on the mother in great pain to force to deliver a dead baby.
Original Publication Grenada Informer