A premature decision to tranfer

As I was beginning the morning case conference, a medical student approached me and whispered in my ear “we have a new 33 week gestation baby that is stable; I just wanted to let you know”.


Things are not always as they seem so, as a student was presenting his case, I stood-up and hurried to neonatology. When I arrived, I was not surprised to see the nurse giving the blue, floppy child artificial breaths.


I took over and, within a few minutes, we had the child stabilized on nasal cannula oxygen. I then went to maternity and spoke with the mother. I said “your child is likely going to become very sick in the next few hours. Can you afford to send him to Kigali so that he can be on a breathing machine if that is needed?”


She quickly and emphatically said “yes”.


We began preparing. At 10AM, the child developed low oxygen levels and we placed a breathing tube. Again he stabilized. Then at noon, as we were preparing to leave, his oxygen saturations dropped to 50% and we could not get them to increase.


At 1PM, as the mother was frantically waiting for our departure, I approached her and said “he is too sick for the 4 hour transport. He is going to die soon. Would you like to hold him now?”


The mother sat in a chair in neonatology, cradled her son, cried and recited prayers. I sat by her side and squeezed a breathing bag to force air into his lungs. At one point the mother placed her hand over mine and began to squeeze and breathe for her son. Her sobs intensified and she chanted “please live my baby, please live my baby”.


Soon after his heart stopped. The mother pulled his body tight to her chest and silently cried.

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One Response to “A premature decision to tranfer”

  1. Francisco Acosta Says:

    Sorry to read that!

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