Sunday, March 14, 2010

While working at the nursing home, I continued looking for other employment. Finally the end of December 1987, Wausau Hospital called. They had an opening for an OB tech in their maternity department; would I be interested? Well, for starters I had no idea what an OB tech was, but I was certainly willing to give it a try.

Working mostly in labor and delivery, my duties were to assist the physicians and the RNs with women while they had their babies. I would set up the delivery room, making sure all necessary instruments and equipment were in place, and be there at the doctor’s side while he delivered the baby, handing him whatever he needed. After the delivery, I would clean up the room and instruments.

When there were no women in labor I would help out in the nursery, weighing, bathing, feeding babies or wheeling them to their mothers and back. When there were few babies in the nursery and nothing else going on, I would get sent to other departments to work as an aid.

It was usually fun, interesting and not a stressful amount of work. I was hired to work the night shift, 11 to 7, and only on part-time status. My biggest fear was that we delivered an unhealthy, or even still-born, baby. The most notable time that happened, luckily, I was off. A Hmong woman had arrived in early labor while I was still at work. Her blood pressure was extremely high (a condition known as pre-eclampsia and is potentially life threatening), so measures were taken to lower her blood pressure and deliver the baby as quickly as possible.

About that time, thank God, my morning replacement arrived and I got to leave. When I returned to work that night, though, I got the rest of the story. The woman’s blood pressure continued very high and the unborn baby’s heart rate started to decrease. The pitocin she was given to induce labor was not working as quickly as necessary. The obstetrician called for an emergency c-section. However, by this time, the entire male assembly of the woman’s Hmong clan had arrived. They refused to give consent; women in their family delivered babies without surgical intervention.

To shorten the long tragic story, the baby died before it could be delivered vaginally. It was a beautiful, perfect baby boy. All the leader of the tribe had to say was, “I made a mistake.”

And I have nothing more to say on that; you can form your own opinion on that whole incident.

1 comment:

Doniel "Doni" Noble said...

Did you ever read the book "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down"? It helps in understanding the Hmong culture. A very good read.