Teamwork at St. Damien: The Collaboration of Maternity and Neonatology – by Peggy Parker

Recently, the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital had the honor of delivering a set of all boy quadruplets. Proud parents, 30-year-old Madonne Laguerre and 34-year-old Gregoire Rigobert have tried for several years to create a family. Married in 2006, this was their first pregnancy. To ensure the safety of both mother and babies, Madonne had to be closely monitored practically her entire pregnancy – about eight months. After a two-week stay in the hospital, mom delivered the babies by caesarean section. The babies were extracted successfully on Tuesday, October 4th; however, the third and largest baby was at risk of lung failure and had to be resuscitated. After such a successful birth, we had to brace ourselves for a most unfortunate circumstance. Much to the parents’ heartache and the staff’s chagrin, little Marving, who had been experiencing tremendous difficulties since birth, died two days later of respiratory complications and anemia. At birth, baby Marvel, weighed 1,230kg, baby Raylanz weighed 1,180kg and little Hendrick 1,380kg. As of the writing of this story, they now weigh 920 gr, 985 gr and 1,380 gr, respectively.

One of the New Quadruplets

While mom has been sent home, the babies are being kept in incubators to allow their lungs to mature, gain weight and become healthier before being sent home. Although they are “not out of the woods yet”, we are all excited and very happy with their progress. The proud papa, exhausted from the daily trips to and from St. Damien, proudly recounts the night that the decision was made to perform the emergency caesarean section on his wife. He had just walked in the door at around 3 p.m. when his phone rang. It was the hospital informing him that his wife was being rushed to the operating room for the emergency operation. He immediately returned to the hospital and by the time he arrived the babies were already born.

One of the Quadruplets welcomed into St. Damien

The couple lives in Cabaret near Tabarre in a three room house which they share with a number of relatives. They were planning to move out on their own. With the babies’ arrival, they are even more determined to be in their own home. Gregoire is currently unemployed and is desperately searching for a job and as soon as is practicable, Madonne will return to work. However, given the state of the economy in Haiti, the future is uncertain. He and his wife are extremely grateful to St. Damien. They have not had to pay for the services, except for providing some of the babies’ needs such as diapers and wipes, milk and water.  A very devout man, he thanks God for bringing them to this hospital.

The couple was prepared for the possibility of complications that come with a multiple birth including the risks of post natal hemorrhage and pulmonary embolism among others. From the beginning of the pregnancy, Madonne, was transferred to St. Damien Hospital for the specialized care that this pregnancy necessitated. In Haiti, St. Damien Hospital specializes in extremely high risk pregnancies. People from all over the country come to St. Damien for the high quality care that it provides free of charge to those in need. It is a full service hospital that provides medical care from pre-natal to birth up to the age of 14. Currently, there is no other pediatric hospital in Haiti that parallels St. Damien.

Two of the Quadruplets staying warm together

From the time Madonne was transferred to St. Damien at 16 weeks into her pregnancy, she was experiencing pre-term labor which is common in such high risk pregnancies. She was followed up regularly until the 28th week at which time she was admitted into the hospital. To diminish contractions, a tocolytic agent was administered and corticoid was given to accelerate the fetuses’ lung maturity. Between 30 and 31 weeks the Caesarean Section was performed on an emergency basis because beyond that the risk of fetal demise greatly increases. Present in the operating room were Drs. Aupont [head of Maternity], Jazon [OBGYN] and Gautier, a visiting 4th year OBGYN resident at Georgia State University,  Lerissont [Pediatrician], Ms. Bazin (neonatologist nurse), the Anasthesiologist and the operating room Nurses. According to Dr. Aupont, Chief of the Maternity Division of St. Damien, everything was “in sync” for this birth. During the stages of pre- and post-surgery, the Neonatology team, lead by Dr. Dorcelus (in the absence of  Dr. Nazaire, head of Neonatology), was present to aid in the delivery and to accept the babies into the Neonatology ward. Although, Neonatology is oftentimes overwhelmed with the responsibilities of that division, they made available three incubators ready and waiting for the babies.

Dr. Aupont, said, “The teamwork was intense because everyone had to react quickly.”  To summarize his sentiments, Dr. Aupont remarks further that the cooperation between Maternity and Neonatology was phenomenal and it “proves what great work can be done at this hospital.” He also commented on the great work the rest of the team does every day because without the members who prepare the beds, sweep and mop the floors to maintain the cleanliness of the hospital; cook the meals, administer the medications to maintain the health of the patients, “we cannot function and I could not do my work”.  An apt statement, in appreciation of teamwork!

While mom was resting from the operations, dad took the opportunity to thank the doctors, nurses and support staff at St. Damien for the excellent care that his wife and children are receiving. Furthermore, he appreciated the kindness in the nursing staff’s approach to new parents.

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