I just got back yesterday afternoon from a quick trip to the Bugnay clinic. I was taking one of our partners from Samaritan’s Purse to see the clinic there and also to drop off one of the Tabuk supervising midwives to spend a few weeks with the staff in Bugnay.
While there, the staff updated me on one of our very high risk patients. Mary* had been repeatedly admitted to the hospital for signs of pre-eclampisia throughout her pregnancy and repeatedly sent home “better”. She was now only seven months pregnant and was sent home again from the hospital two days before. My midwife Rema had done a home visit for her that day and her blood pressure was sky high again and she was so swollen that she had a hard time moving around. Rema and the other staff told Mary that she needed to go back to the hospital again. Mary decided she would just follow the doctor’s advice and return on Friday for her regular follow-up check-up. My midwives asked me if I could try to convince her to go back to the hospital. They knew that at any moment she could have a seizure or a stroke and then both she and the baby would be lost.
I agreed to visit her and try to convince her. So just before myself and Raija-Liisa (from SP Canada) left for Tabuk, we went to visit her in her home. I was praying silently as we approached her house that God would give me compassion and the right words to say. When I saw her lying in her bed, so swollen from her feet to her chest, and checked her blood pressure to see it was off the charts, I was filled with compassion. We spent about an hour with Mary discussing her options and in the end we decided instead of taking her back to the closest hospital (who kept sending her home) we would take her back with us to Tabuk.
The midwives at the clinic started an IV line on Mary (which wasn’t an easy feat with all her edema) and we lay her down in the back of the car and drove to Tabuk. When we reached the hospital, the doctors and nurses immediately started caring for her. Her blood pressure was even higher than when we left Bugnay and she was starting to have severe headaches. The staff were unable to find the baby’s heartbeat. They were planning to get her prepped for an ultrasound when Raija and I left her in the hands of the very capable staff.
A few hours later I received a text from the doctor that she had performed a cesarean section and delivered a stillborn baby. Mary’s life had been saved but unfortunately not her baby’s as well.
It is heartbreaking to think of Mary’s loss, but I know that if she hadn’t had the C-section on that day that her life could have been lost as well. (The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery of baby and placenta. There is no other treatment. If left untreated, eclampsia will cause multi-organ failure, seizures and/or stroke and ultimately death for the pregnant woman).
Please pray for Mary and her family as they grieve their loss.
Please pray for the Bugnay staff as they continue to grow in strength, skill and wisdom in dealing with these very difficult cases in such a remote area.
(*not her real name)