Here is the truth about what happened to Hellen Wanjiru Ngure.
Hellen was a 32 year old mother of two children, 8 and 5 years. She was pregnant with her third child.
She was killed.
Her crime? She dared to get pregnant in a country where maternal health care is so pathetic that in 2019, mothers still die while bringing forth life due to complications that could have been prevented and hospital negligence that has become too common but nothing can be done because corruption is shameless, it does not care if a mother and her child died, bribes are exchanged and the story becomes that, just a story.
Hellen was taken to St Teresa hospital in Kikuyu by her husband on Tuesday morning, 23/04/19 which was her EDD. She was induced at 2:30 pm. She was induced during her 2 previous deliveries.
At around 8:30 pm. Hellen started to bleed while in her labor ward. Her husband called for help from the nurse on duty who told him that the bleeding was normal and therefore did not check on Hellen. Hellen’s husband has photos of Hellen walking around her labour room with blood dropping on the floor.
The bleeding increased and the husband went back to the nurse to ask for help. The nurse was feeding a newborn baby, and only attended to Hellen after she was done feeding the baby. Her husband was asked to leave the room.
At around 9:30 the nurse called for Hellen’s husband and told him that Hellen’s case was an emergency and asked him to consent for the CS.
By this time, Hellen was very weak and could not raise her arms. The husband signed the consent forms and stayed with Hellen as the nurse tried to call for doctors.
Hellen’s state deteriorated.
At around 11pm one doctor arrived and Hellen was taken to theatre.
At around 2 am and not having received any update on Hellen, her husband called his sister who is a nurse. The sister came all the way from Kiambu hospital and forced her way to the theatre only to find Hellen and her baby dead.
There was no one to tell them what happened to Hellen and her baby. The doctors ran away or hid in the hospital and no one could give any information on what happened to Hellen.
Frustrated, Hellen’s husband called 999 and asked for help. Police responded by first calling the hospital but no one answered their calls. Kikuyu police station then sent two policemen to the hospital. (Thank you police, Kikuyu OCPD, OCS and deputy DCIO)
At around 6am, Wednesday morning, the hospital director, not the doctor, told Hellen’s husband and his sister that Hellen passed on during the CS.
Shortly after, 2 policemen arrived at the hospital and recorded a statement with the hospital director.
The policemen then asked Hellen’s husband to accompany them to the police station to record his statement. He later returned to the hospital accompanied by Deputy DCIO and some police officers. They requested for a postmortem.
Unfortunately, Hellen’s records were missing and hence postmortem was not possible. The pathologists and police left the hospital.
The family, stranded, waited all day without any communication from the hospital and retired at around 9 pm.
The following day, Thursday, after Hellen’s story caught a lot of attention (many thanks to the media and Boniface Mwangi), a postmortem was eventually done and revealed that Hellen died from shock, after losing a lot of blood and that it is possible that Hellen was already dead, or was already in shock when she was taken to theatre. Her baby did not take a single breath.
We do not know at what time her baby got into distress because the doctor’s report showed that during admission, the baby’s heartbeat was normal. Also, at admission, Hellen’s vitals were ok, her blood count was normal.
We also do not know at what point the CS was done, when the baby was removed, when blood transfusion was done, if the hospital has a blood bank, we are not sure if the hospital has Hellen’s records, if they know her blood group because the doctor admitted that he was not very well briefed about Hellen. He also admitted to have been called at 10:30 pm and yet Hellen started to bleed at 8:30 pm. So, Hellen bled for about 3 hours before she was taken for an emergency CS.
Why did the hospital admit Hellen if they did not have the capacity, no doctor around? The doctor also admitted that there was no gynecologist in theatre during the CS, and yet he went ahead and removed Hellen’s uterus.
Was there an overuse of cytotec, the drug used in induction, did they record the amount they used in Hellen’s records? (We are waiting for results from samples that were taken for analysis). It will take months.
What caused Hellen’s bleeding?
I am not a doctor but is it ok to transfuse blood on a patient not reversed from anesthesia? I’d love to know. They said that they tried to resuscitate her for one hour before transfusion.
Why didn’t they update her husband who was banging on doors and shouting for someone to tell him what was going on?
Why did the doctor run away or hide after Hellen died?
Why did they fail to be present the first time we requested for a postmortem?
Why did they refuse to give the pathologists Hellen’s file?
What changed that the hospital agreed to a postmortem on day two?
Why did the hospital bring in an unqualified pathologist for the postmortem? This delayed the postmortem and we ended spending another whole day at the hospital.
How is the doctor sleeping in the night knowing very well that he is hiding something?
How is the nurse feeling when she looks at her children, if she has any, knowing very well that she let Hellen down by not checking and monitoring her and now Hellen’s 2 children do not have a mother because of her negligence?
When will women stop dying while giving birth in this country?
What the f$&& is Beyond Zero maternal deaths for?
We all know that nothing will happen to that hospital, another story will happen elsewhere and life goes on, and we will keep burying our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters who the only thing they want is to experience the miracle of childbirth.
And let’s not kid ourselves, we know how things work in this country, who is already compromised since Hellen’s story broke? Can dead mothers ever get justice in this country?
Getting pregnant in this country is like signing up for your own death.
But to all expectant women and mothers who would like to have more children and are scared after hearing stories like Hellen’s, do not despair. Hellen’s mother prayed for you.
When Hellen went into labour, she asked her mother and sister to say a rosary for her. They did. Her mother kept vigil, praying. Her prayers do not go in vain. I know her, she is my God Mother.
The health system is this country may be dirty, corrupt, incompetent and greedy but because Hellen’s mother prayed, to the women wanting to experience the sacredness of pregnancy and childbirth, take a deep sigh of relief, breath, you are SAFE.
Rest well Shiro, I will be checking on your daughters and will see you beyond the river.