NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – “My unborn child died because the ‘doctor’ opened my womb,” the distraught girl tells me. The man who had performed the operation had said that her pregnancy was developing outside her uterus – commonly known as an ectopic pregnancy.
“I did not have an ectopic pregnancy as he had said,” she charges. “All he did was to cut my skin and open my womb; he left my baby to die… Why did he open my womb and leave the baby to die? He should have removed it because he knew what would happen.”
This is how 17-year-old Angela Kwamboka recounts her sad episode in the hands of a medical quack.
Despite the shock and frustration of teenage pregnancy, Kwamboka found herself in the very incapable hands of unscrupulous doctors, who for a long time have been fought by the government, unsuccessfully.
Kwamboka remembers rushing to an estate dispensary when she realised she was bleeding barely a month into her pregnancy.
“I started bleeding when I was four weeks pregnant, I was terrified! My insurance does not cover pregnancy, which meant digging into my pockets. I am a student and my boyfriend is financially unstable, he could not take me to a good hospital, so we went to an estate dispensary,” she recalls, describing the encounter with a quack in Nairobi’s Umoja II estate.
Without even a scan or any form of an x-ray, the doctor told her it was an ectopic pregnancy.
“It was a Friday. I had acute pain and a lot of bleeding. In the hospital we were told it was an ectopic pregnancy. He injected me in the stomach and removed some blood, then he injected me again still on the stomach with some medicine,” she narrates.
An ectopic pregnancy is a complication in which the fertilized ovum is developed in any tissue other than the uterine wall. According to medical experts, the survival chances of such a foetus are low.
The doctor told Kwamboka that he had to cut her left fallopian tube to remove the foetus.
“They walked me through the stairs to the theatre despite the pain I was in. In the theatre I don’t know what kind of medicine they gave me. The anaesthesia they used had a problem. I woke up in the middle of the operation! It was like hell, the pain was unbearable; then they had to inject me again,” she says.
Despite the agonising process of removing the alleged ectopic pregnancy, Kwamboka felt happy at last! She was free to go back to school though with a caesarean mark of a baby she never had.
But that was not the end of her long painful journey. What followed was even worse.
Two weeks after returning to school, the initial pains she had before the operation returned, only this time accompanied by a heavy flow.
“Normally I have a light flow, but this day the flow was too heavy, it was like pouring water out of a jug. I used two packets of sanitary pads within a day,” she says.
The school had to involve her parents since she required urgent medical attention. Her mother was double shocked, not just because of the heavy bleeding but because her adolescent daughter was pregnant.
Even worse, was the news from the doctor.
Kwamboka was carrying a dead foetus in her womb. The quack at the Umoja II dispensary did not remove any foetus, and neither did he cut her fallopian tube to remove the supposedly ectopic pregnancy as he had alleged.
“I was rushed to a good hospital and after the ultra sound the doctor said I was six weeks pregnant! I was in shock and confused!”
Doctors explained that the quack had interfered with her womb giving it an ‘M’ shape. The scans showed that the baby was in the correct position and could have survived had the womb not been opened.
Kwamboka was lucky to get proper medical attention to correct the damage caused by the quack doctor. She also had to go for counselling after the long torture of dealing with a teenage pregnancy that was never to be – in such a cruel manner.
When Capital News visited the dispensary, not even the most essential medical appliances were available. Not to mention the personnel that could barely communicate in English.
The dispensary was closed down after another girl died while procuring an abortion in the hands of the same quack.