"Doctor, Doctor, save my child!": Cultivating Good Health-Seeking Behaviour

in MED-HIVE9 months ago

Picture: My beautiful mom and baby me

"Doctor, Doctor, save my child!"

Words I absolutely dread hearing.

When I took the Hippocratic oath, I was so excited. My face gleamed in pride as I said the sacred words and I thought about all the people my skills would help -

  • Flash back, 2015, medical school interview.

A stern, balding, cardiologist questioned me.

"Why do you want to become a doctor?"

I want to help my people, I said, smiling. "My people."

"Doctor! Doctor, my baby!"

I shuddered back into reality. Her baby.

Beautiful, but still. Too still.
And cold, so cold.

She lifted a picture of her child - Beautiful and brown. Toothless. Large eyes. Chubby cheeks.


We spurred into action:

Vital signs: unrecordable.

Heart beat: faint.
So faint.

We attached her to monitors.

The monitor beeped:

Temperature is too low. Temperature is too low. SpO2 unrecorded. Temperature is too low.

I knew how this will end, but we tried anyway.

IV fluids stat.
Blood transfusion, stat.
Antibiotics, stat.
Electrolyte correction, stat.
Dopamine infusion, stat.

"Doctor, Doctor, Doctor...!!!!"

By this time, my ward coat felt hot. Itchy. Uncomfortable. The weight of the doctor title was clanging down on my brain. Instant headache. Sweat meandered down my face.

The end came. Sometimes it is slow. Sometimes it is very quick. In these cases, it is almost always sure.

Her extremities were so cold. So very cold.
If we had gotten her 4 hours prior -

I am day-dreaming again, wishing I can turn back the hands of time.

Temperature is too low. Temperature is too low. Heart rate not detected. Temperature is too low.

We commenced resuscitation. We aborted resuscitation after 30 minutes.

Time of death:- ...

We told the mother. She went erect instantly.

Hands covered her face.

"Allah Akbar. Allah Akbar!!"
God is great. God is great.

Everywhere, quiet.

She saw the silence. She touched her baby. She looked from me, to my colleagues, to her still, cold, baby. She let out a scream:-

"Doctor, Doctor, No!"

And I know that at that moment, her heart had broken into a million pieces.

Her baby did not have to die. It started with diarrhea, refusal of feeds, weakness. High temperature.

Instead of seeking health care, she tried other things...and then, she watched and prayed.

And watched...
And watched...

Until she could watch no more.

By then it was too late.

She had taken medical advice from neighbours, friends, grandmothers - anyone but a medical professional - because she had been full of fear.

Fear of the hospital had kept her away.
Fear of medical bills had kept her away.
Fear of scary diagnoses had kept her away.

And now, it is too late. Her worst fear had come to pass.

It is heart sickening to take medical history, sometimes. I can almost predict the answers.

There is usually a poor antenatal history.

Labour was done at home, local midwife, qualifications based on experience alone.

Postnatal feeds? Formula,and Hollandia yorgurt.

Newborns cannot process yorgurt adequately. There are specific directions to be followed when using Formula milk, and breast milk is still the best.

And the mother? She is very sick too.
No checkups post delivery.

She is malnourished, exhausted, overwhelmed, depressed...and now, heartbroken.

There are no words sincere enough to comfort a motherless child. None.

And while not all deaths can be prevented, a lot of them can, by simply seeking medical care early enough...because when a baby dies, a huge chunk of the mother dies too.

Nothing is "too stupid" to ask about caring for your body and your child.

Medical doctors took an oath for you. Ask away.

The hospital doors are always open.

Thank you @med-hive community for the prompt!



Picture: My colleague, my senior colleague and I

Pictures are all mine


Interesting story.
Poor health seeking behaviour has always been an issue especially in places where the health system is not rightly organized.

But the least one can do for oneself is to get help on time, regardless.
The hospital doors are always open like you said.
See a doctor... Get help quick!

You're right. The fear of the medical costs has greatly cheapened lives.

Here is to hoping that more people in areas of government make affordable health care for the less fortunate 😞

Thank you for your comment!

I hope allowance is also made for people who might want to invest in the health space.

There are solutions that can be provided by people who have the skillset for it, only if there is the political will for adoption.

I know of a friend and medical doctor who came up with a solution for the problem of unavailability of blood and blood products.
His innovation was ingenious but didn't fly so well because of the lack of political will for implementation.


The solution to this crises is truly multi-factorial. I'd like to say that I am hopeful for positive change in the health space - but it still seems years away, at least in Nigeria!

The lack of political will for health care is stunting the growth of the nation. And, even worse - the depression it causes is driving many doctors to seek work elsewhere.

I am sure your friend would have been better appreciated in other places, for example.

However, on that dismal note, hope must remain and the few and increasingly fewer doctors left must do more than their quota in minimising the loss of our vulnerable ones.

You just hit the nail on the head about the situation of things in Nigeria and some African countries.

Let's hope some allowance for problem solving is given to people who have great interests in solving problems peculiar to Africa and other third world regions.

Look at Mo Ibrahim, the pioneer of mobile telecommunications in Africa. Little did we know that what he started then would become the soul of communication for even the common man in Africa.

Africa, the Middle East and Asia needs to open its doors to innovators and investors, most especially indigenous ones with the right knowledge and expertise.
Our problems are peculiar to us and can only be solved by us.

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Thank you!

You are welcome @drbubbles! It is great to see you are doing your first steps! Great work!

Thank you, @hivebuzz !

Postnatal feeds? Formula,and Hollandia yorgurt.

This is so sad.
How on Earth?
I sometimes ask my self.
People are really this ignorant. And it's sure they could have saved this child if proper things were taken into consideration.

This could have been prevented from the start.

Nice piece.


I have been increasingly amazed at the level of medical ignorance displayed everyday...I am learning to educate as simply as possible, without assuming that patients have an idea of what to do.
There is much work to be done!

Thank you so much for your comment

That's the way to go over here in Nigeria o. A simple advice can save 10 people.

A wrong one can kill 100s. And there are so many sources o wrong info out there.


A little work makes tons of impact! May we not tire of the work!

Thanks for this beautiful content.
We salute the Doctors for doing the best they could. Quite unfortunate the harm was medically irreversible. Parents should do well to take note.

Thanks again.
We have supported your post.

Thank you, @med-hive ! Doctors do so much more than they are given credit for. There is so much public health awareness to be done, in Africa and worldwide! I have great hope that the system will change for the better.

Reading this made my eyes water!

Awww. It is very sad indeed. I am very hopeful and determined that the health system must get better.

This was a powerful story @drbubbles ... I can't imagine what the mother was going throught nor can I imagine how difficult it is to deliver such a news to the familly... It's very very sad.

Thank you for sharing

It really was sad.

Thank you for reading and commenting!

You're most welcome! I look forward to keep learning from you 😊

An experience that's always inevitable in this field
Looking one give up a ghost isn't easy😢

Never knew you were on the blockchain

Hi 😀 Well..now you know!

 9 months ago Reveal Comment

You have made a major point. There is a limit to how much good doctors can do when patients are unable to afford help.

However, there are some absolute basic things that go a long way in reducing mortalities just by encouraging people (especially the most financially challenged) to seek help.

For example, where I work currently, malaria testing and treatment is free of charge. Many patients don't know that!
Sometimes kind hearted investors have taken up a patient- and paid for the entire treatment.

However patients who never come would never have access to even the free things.

It is a fight that seems daunting. Victory seems impossible, to be honest. But we can start with the few things that are within our control.

 9 months ago Reveal Comment
 9 months ago Reveal Comment