Over the past few months, Floating Doctors has seen an amazing flurry of activity, particularly in the realm of maternal and fetal health!
Recently, in La Sabana, a 9-month pregnant patient came to clinic. We performed an ultrasound and found that her baby was in a transverse, or horizontal, position, which can be very dangersous for both mother and baby. Usually, a baby in transverse position must be delivered by cesarian section, which is nearly impossible in this isolated mountain community accessible only by foot and packhorse. To compound matters, the team recognized that she could befin labor at any moment. As daylight was fading, and a night journey down the mountain is very risky, the team was preparing to transport her to the hospital in the morning. Luckily, we had an obstetric nurse practitioner on our team, who showed the woman some poses and stretches to try in an attempt to get the baby to change position. The woman listened intently and followed the instructions, and in the middle of the night, the baby moved into the right position.
The next morning, she went into labor, and was able to give birth to a healthy baby with the aid of the local midwives in her own community, without the stress of having to travel many hours to the hospital. This is one instance where the outcome was the best we could hope for, and we were immensely grateful that we could be there to care for her and provider her with an option to transport to ensure advanced care if necessary.
At another clinic in Playa Verde, where we've built our first remote outpost, we treated a very high number of pregnant women in one clinic at over 30. On the first day, literally an entire boat full of pregnant women from elsewhere on the peninsula pulled up to the clinic. Later, in the middle of the night, another boat arrived with a woman and her husband. She had not been to clinic, but had begun feeling intermittent contractions that evening so had been rushed to us so that we could perform and ultrasound and ensure the baby was in the right position. Thankful that we have a building to provide privacy and comfort from the weather with our outpost, we took her up to the ultrasound room and were able to confirm that everything looked okay and ready to go. As she still had quite awhile to go before the birth, she decided to return home and give birth in her community with the parteras that had been caring for her. We look forward to returning to Playa Verde within the next few weeks to check on mother and baby.
At one of our most recent clinics in Norteno, a woman went into labor on the first day of clinic, but the local midwife was sick and wasn't able to help with the delivery. A few of our volunteers went to the birthing house and delivered the baby. In order to get to the woman, a river had to be crossed. During the hours of labor, it rained heavily and the river swelled, trapping the team for many hours. Thanks to the skills and care of our volunteers, and the strength that so many of our patients share, the birth went flawlessly. There for the majority of the labor, the woman's husband was present, but he disappeared shortly after the birth without word. When he returned, he was carrying huge bags of fruit from his farm. He gave them to our volunteers to show his immense gratitude.
We are so grateful for the support of our many donors and volunteers, who are helping us bring healthcare to pregnant women and new mothers!
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