This past Sunday, was a difficult day for a co-worker of ours. Delia works with us in Talanga or the surrounding areas every time we go that way. She had been pregnant until Thursday when she underwent a C-section. Her baby died Friday morning at 3am and was buried Sunday afternoon. Sunday morning we took Delia back to Talanga where she lives. Her family is very poor as is most of Talanga. I, being one that does not like funerals, told my wife I did not want to go to the cemetery, but God had other plans. Not only did I go, they put the very small casket in my truck along with the wilted and dying flowers and I led the processional to the cemetery. Not exactly what I had wanted. I watched as the father and two young sons ages 10 & 8 (I think) carried the small casket the short distance to the grave site. After a short service the father let himself down into the hole and the small casket was handed to him and he gently placed it in its final resting place. After a time of crying and much sadness for the life that never will be, they buried the casket. Next, they took a homemade steal cross that had a small piece of flat steel welded to it and slowly painted the child’s name and date of birth and death on it. The tragedy of all this is it did not need to happen. You see, Delia went to the hospital in labor Tuesday. She has a small pelvis and my wife (Doctor Ana) says this calls for an emergency C-section. Well she had the C-section… 2 days later on Thursday. The baby was born alive, and then taken away and neither the mother nor the father was allowed to see him alive again. The baby died from having to wait 2 days for the necessary c-section while the mother was in labor.
This is a tragedy repeated many times here in Honduras. The negligence that goes on at hospitals in Honduras is criminal, but nothing is ever done about it. There is no recourse for the poor. This is something we want to prevent in as many patients as we can in our Women’s clinic.
What my husband & I have written it is true. She is my dear friend Delia and what happened to her hurts me a lot. When the baby died, I received a phone call from his Daddy. He was crying and his heart was broken. I was in shock! I did not expect this terrible news. I left the hospital one day before and nurses told me that baby was ok. I am talking to the nurses because doctors are unattainable. I am trying to find the right adjective for the people in the hospital, and I just can say “Untouchable“. It is too much for them if someone asks for a patient. THEY ARE TOO BUSY TO BE KIND AND SHOW COMPASSION TO SOMEONE. THEY ARE TOO BUSY AND TOO IMPORTANT TO ANSWER QUESTIONS. You can find no one that will take responsibility for anything in the hospitals. Many of the same doctors are working in private hospitals where they are, of course, nice to people that can pay for their services. And this confirms my thought; kindness is bought in Honduras (La amabilidad is comprada in Honduras).
Let me tell you about the situation that I saw in the past two days while I was trying to help my friend Delia. I will give you a sense of what it means to be poor in Honduras and not being able to have access to healthcare.
First, patients must beg the security guard at the entrance to the hospital then just one member of the family can be with the patient and the others can’t go in. Then, they talk to the doctor in the emergency room and the doctor just says, “Wait for your turn”. The only option for this patient is sitting down on the floor and waiting hours to get medical attention. When a pregnant woman is in labor often there are 10 women in a small room about the size of a bathroom waiting to be admitted. Once they have progressed over half way through labor, they finally get a room to have their babies. The rest of the laboring mothers must walk and walk to make their labor progress. If the doctors are busy or no room is available the woman can deliver her baby wherever she happens to be.
Just one day after my friend Delia gave birth to her little boy (she saw him for less than a minute after the birth) she was happy, anxiously eager to see her baby alive. But, this never happened. The hospital personnel told the father who told us the baby had died. A pastor friend and I gave Delia the bad news. You just can visualize the rest of this dramatic story. Of course, I can understand it is prohibited from entering the labor room but I cannot understand why they constantly lied, telling me that my friend and her baby were ok. Why were they not allowed to see their baby while he was alive? Why were there so many lies? Why was she in labor for two days before having a C- section? Can somebody answer these questions? All of this is too sad.
Hours before the funeral of this baby, God gave me some scriptures that I would like to share:
James 2: 8: If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself “, you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
v.12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!!!
God gave me comfort through His word. He tells us to love our friends and those that are not our friends, to have compassion for those in need, to have a sensitive heart for His creation, to give your best for those who you love and those you don’t love and to do what is right, no matter what or to whom. I have to be merciful and compassionate to all people. Judgment without mercy will be shown to me if I am not merciful.
All the people in this sad situation have already been judged. That makes me think that it is true that faith without deeds is useless. But deeds should be good. We need to listen to the voice of God to guide us in this world, if we do not do this, we can become pillars of salt.
This did not have to happen to my friend and it continues to happen to many poor people in Honduras. The health system in Honduras is in total collapse. The hospitals only offer quantity care not quality care. Many newborns are dying every month in the hospitals of Honduras. Some of them are dying because of something unpreventable, but the majorities are dying because of negligence and uncaring doctors and nurses. Many women do not have prenatal care because it is unattainable or they don’t understand the need for it. And as for the medical negligence, no medicine, having to wait to get a room, not having enough personnel for simple but unavoidable circumstances and contaminated operating and recovery rooms for women and newborns; for whatever reason, the results are feeding the rising rates of Maternity and Infantile Mortality in Honduras.
I just wanted to share some of my thoughts and feelings about this most recent tragic situation. Please help us to build the hospital Las Manos de Cristo. Don’t you want to be part helping to save the lives of women and their babies?
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.