She couldn’t stop shaking. She had even developed a slight headache in that short interval. She had hoped nothing like this would happen to her. She had prayed, even fasted and wished it would be a smooth pregnancy. But this wasn’t good news. The blaring horn of the okada that narrowly missed her as she had stepped into the street, brought her thoughts back to the present.
“Get it together!” she warned herself. But it was hard to do. The tears welled up in her eyes again and she furiously tried to blink them away. She decided not to cross the road anymore and fiddled through her bag looking for her phone. She called her husband again, praying she wouldn’t get that voice telling her his phone was switched off. Luckily she got a ring tone.
“Honey, where are you?” he asked.
“Darling, I just left the scan centre,” she replied.
“What’s wrong?” He promptly asked detecting the quivering of her voice.
“Well, the doctor said the baby is fine, it’s a girl, and she is about five months….”
“And……” he asked, sensing there was more.
“The baby is breech!” She blurted out! “That’s why Kike had a Caesarean section!”
“Just calm down dear,” I’m coming to pick you. Just stay where you are.
In the scan centre, the man who did the scan, who wasn’t a doctor or a trained sonologist, took a lunch break as he had been quite busy that morning. He thought about the lady with the breech pregnancy again. He felt awkward as his “research” after she left had revealed the position of the baby could change anytime and really wasn’t relevant until she was nine months pregnant. There was absolutely no cause for alarm, but he had told her she might need a Caesarean delivery and that she needed to pray. She was to come for repeat scans every week to see if would change. He would have to stick to his story when she came back. He couldn’t afford to look ignorant.
He had a headache. His eyes hurt so bad. However he didn’t want to go the hospital. Even though he had been having this headache for 3 days, he hadn’t used any medication, and he just didn’t have the time to go to the clinic. He felt it was time to call his doctor.
“Hey doc, how are you?”
“I’m fine, and you.”
“I’m not too good, can you talk?”
“Well, only for a little bit, I’m quite occupied now.”
“I have a terrible headache, it’s been on and off for three days now.”
“Have you been working hard again?”
“Erm, well yes.”
“It’s 7pm now, how many meals have you had today?”
“Erm, just breakfast.”
“Have you had your eyes checked like I said to?”
“Erm, not yet.”
“It’s been six months since we talked and you still haven’t changed! You are really living a stressful life! You need to relax. I’m at the tennis court now taking it easy myself. Just take some paracetamol and rest. Change your lifestyle too. I’ve gotta go now, I’m off duty you know.”
“Thanks doc, will do.”
As he cut off the phone, it dropped to the floor. His body joined it on the ground a second later. He wasn’t aware of the headache anymore.
“This can’t be right!” she wondered.
After all she had seen a consultant and he was reportedly very good. She actually felt he had taken his time to listen to her and to go through the possible causes of her complaint of contractions in the seventh month of her pregnancy. She had declined the admission he requested but had done the tests and collected the medication. The admission didn’t seem so necessary as the contractions weren’t frequent or very painful. The doctor also did say she could watch it over the next few days if the medication didn’t improve the situation and she was to come back for results of a test which took three days.
The contractions seemed to have waned and here she was at home, reading up the medication on google. The drug information said it was an anti-hypertensive! There was a lengthy list of possible side effects which didn’t sound pleasant at all. And finally, they said it wasn’t to be used in pregnancy! “Doctors! They cause so much harm!” She muttered to herself as she decided not to use the medication. She said a prayer and went to sleep.
Two days later she was rushed to the hospital and delivered prematurely.
There are so many reasons why patients get mismanaged in medical care. The issue of perspectives tends to be the reason sometimes. Arriving at a conclusion concerning a medical condition is sometimes a painstaking process. Although, to be fair, it can sometimes be simple and straightforward, depending on the condition itself, and the knowledge and experience of the doctor. However as the stories above depict, where care is accessed, how it is got and adherence to treatment are also crucial to the final result.
Doctors are taught that to appropriately diagnose a patient, we have to take a good history (like the telephone doctor tried to do), do an examination of the patient (which he failed to do and thus missed the severe hypertension which led to the mild stroke) to arrive at a clinical diagnosis. The diagnosis can change with the history and after the examination. Some tests could be required, and the results could yet change the diagnosis again. Treatment can only be effective when the right diagnosis has been made, and the patient adheres to it. The medication the lady was scared to use has minimal effects on the blood pressure when it is normal and is very safe in pregnancy despite what Dr Google said. That knowledge needed to be balanced with clinical experience, which is why her doctor opted for it.
The full picture is often required for the right judgement to be made. Probably that’s why the bible says we shouldn’t judge. However we can patiently and wisely investigate further to get a clearer picture, lest we be like the blind men feeling different parts of an elephant and having no idea what is right before us.