Vande Maataram


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

WMD

An excerpt from THE WEEK dated 24 Mar 04 --

The biggest problem is in the neonatal ward. Iraq has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world-it climbed from 40 out of 1,000 live births in 1989 to 108 today. One morning last month, Ibtisam Ali, 35, brought her brother's baby to Iskan. The local hospital, where the baby was born that day, had turned her away because it did not have medicine to treat the baby. The boy looked blue and was bleeding from his nose and mouth.

The child needed an incubator but not one was available. Ali called a few hospitals and found that Medical City had a free incubator. She raced over in a taxi, but when she arrived, she was told the space had been given to another baby. Ali argued: "Why did I come here? I spent all my money on taxis and reserved the place, and you say you are going to take it [the incubator] away. I have priority." The doctor replied: "This is not a hotel."

Sanaa Mehdi, 18, the mother's sister, was not ready to give up. A nurse, taking pity, handed her a manual ventilator and told her to squeeze and let go, squeeze and let go, as long as she could. Shortly before dawn, after standing by the baby and working the respirator for eight hours, Mehdi's arms gave out.
Her nephew, Abdullah Hassan Ali, age 1 day, died at 4 a.m. The death certificate listed "respiratory failure" as the cause.

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