Next up was Obstetrics. This is the department that deals with births. It has a lot of midwives in the department. Midwives are a law unto themselves. They are generally feared by Paramenaces. They are generally feared by all medical professions.
I’ll split this into two entries – first, the caesarian section and secondly, the birth.
Part a) Caesarian Section
I had never seen one of these before and was keen to learn what they were about. A Caesarian Section or C-Section is where an incision is made into the woman’s lower abdomen and then the baby is pulled via that “slot”. This is of course, the simpler version explained. The procedure is very traumatic and almost touches on barbaric! It is usually done because of complications and sometimes in emergencies.
I don’t think some mums fully understand what is happening with this operation. And by “some mums” I mean those who naively choose to have a C-Section as a matter-of-fact choice. Let me explain . . . first they cut through your skin, through your fatty layers and then through your abdominal muscles. They then place their hands in and literally rip your stomach open (a naturally torn muscle heals better than a cut one). Then they cut through your peritoneum (lining of your abdomen), rip open the sac surrounding your baby to “break the waters”, grab the head of the baby (with hands or foreseps) and yank it free. Then, if there are no problems, they stitch you up. Bish bash bosh, sorted!
The one I saw had complications. The placenta had torn away from the uterus and was bleeding profusely. Bare in mind these are natural complications – not man made. I just stood there mesmerised by the efforts put in place by the dozen or so staff who were frantically trying to save the both the mother and the child.
The child had to be “extracted” using large foreseps and a lot of elbow grease but came out screaming. The mother continued to bleed heavily. And by bleeding I mean it looked like there was a water mains pipe burst within her abdomen. It was then the surgeons and staff picked up their pace. The whole uterus was pulled out and the lead surgeon literally had to scoop out the inside of it with her hands to rid it of any placenta still remaining. Drugs were administered to staunch the bleeding and about four billion stitches given to block off the end of the uterus and eventually it was placed back in the patient and they were stitched up.
The only thing that could of been seen as remotely amusing was the fact the surgeon was 5’1 and had to stand on a stool to do most of the procedures and at one point the stool slipped backwards and they practically fell onto the patient. There were no laughs however.
The floor was covered in sodden Inko-pads (large absorbent pads for collecting fluids) and the end estimation of blood loss (they collect as much blood and fluid as possible and even weigh all used swabs) was 1.9 litres. Well over a third of her blood volume.
The end result? One ten pound baby boy and a happy mother. I was knackered just watching. And the surgeons and staff? Well, they just scrubbed up and got ready for the next one.