Mother gives birth in back seat
A combi driver was this week hailed a hero by workmates after he saved the life of a young woman who gave birth in his combi.
What started as an uneventful Sunday morning for Chadibe based Goitseone Othusitse, 30,who operates on the 25 kilometre route from the village to Francistown, turned into a day of high drama when the passenger went into labour soon after boarding his vehicle.
Speaking from the Francistown bus rank about the weekend incident Goitseone explained: “Everything happened so quickly. It was around 8am and my combi was loaded with passengers when someone called out that a passenger was having serious labour pains. At first I couldn’t believe my ears, but when people started shouting, I stopped. When I turned around I was amazed to see that the young lady in question was in the process of giving birth, and the baby was already coming out.”
Continuing the story to the group of fellow drivers that had now gathered around him, Goitseone added: “The woman was screaming and gnashing her teeth in pain, but to my surprise all the passengers that included several females, had got out. Those that had not run away were just staring helplessly.”
While still trying to work out what to do, the remaining passengers boarded another combi, leaving Goitseone alone with the problem.
“The crew of the other combi were more concerned about picking up my passengers than helping, and when they sped away I must admit my instinct was also to get the hell out of there, but I realised that if I did not help, the woman might end up bleeding to death.
“By this time the baby was completely out and crying, lying between the mother’s legs, and still attached to the umbilical cord .There was blood all over the seat, and I was afraid that if I drove with her in that condition, she might fall and the movement wrench mother and baby apart.
“I managed to get the cell number of her sister in the village, and told her to come to where the combi was parked. In the meantime I flagged down a passing motorist, and rushed to Borolong clinic to seek help.”
At the clinic they located the nurse in charge, but received another shock when she said that she could not help as the clinic was closed for the weekend. “She told me that no-one was on duty, and there was no available ambulance. I pleaded with her but she told me to take the woman to Francistown since there was no help she could offer,” he said.
Without wasting time, the father of two returned to the woman in the combi and called Nyangabwe where he was regrettably told that ambulances at the Referral Hospital were not meant for patients living out of town. “Luckily when I arrived at the scene the woman’s sister joined us, and together with another villager we drove into town to the clinic in Area W. There the mum and baby boy were assisted and later transferred to Nyangabwe for further medical attention.”
The story told a ripple of applause breaks out from the ranks of the assembled audience. Fellow combi drivers and friends now call him and his vehicle all sorts of names – doctor, midwife, ambulance driver and some refer to Goitseone’s combi as a maternity ward.
“They are calling me a hero and saying the baby should be named after me, but the truth is I was terrified, and am still shocked by the whole incident, as much by what happened as by the lack of support for a fellow human in distress. Perhaps I would have done the same if I could have run away, but now if I have helped to save a life, then it is something I am proud to have done.”
Back in Chadibe where the mother and new born baby are now in confinement, Unami Mujara, the woman’s mother, praised the Good Samaritan for helping her daughter and grandson.
“I can’t thank this boy enough. I wish him all the good things in life. I know God is going to reward him one day for serving my child and grandchild. We offered to pay him, but he said it was enough with a thank you,” Mujara said.
CLINIC FAILS TO DELIVER
Staff nurse-in charge of the Borolong Clinic, identified as Emang, said the facility was not meant for delivery.
“People are aware that Borolong does not have any maternity ward and a mid-wife, so there is no need for them to come to us. Moreover I personally am not a trained mid-wife. They told me the woman had given birth, so there was nothing I could do,” Emang said, accusing the combi driver who claimed she refused to help of lying.
“I did follow them, but when I arrived at the scene there was no sign of the combi or patient,” she claimed, before going on to criticise the woman. “I don’t understand why she stayed home until late while she knew that she was about to give birth,” said the nurse fuming with rage.
She added that she refereed the two men to Area W where she knew that the woman would get professional help.
Meanwhile Principal Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Health, Themba Sibanda said it was unethical for officers to refuse to assist patients simply because they were off duty. He promised that the incident would be investigated and proper action taken. He said health services operate 24hours and that nurses work on shifts to avoid people finding themselves left in the lurch.