On Friday morning, one of the guards came to find me. He said, someone has delivered at the intersection (?dans le carrefour?). You need to come.
Look, I?ll admit: I like to be needed. It?s one of the reasons I went into medicine. So when he said, you are needed, I went. But I wasn?t really sure why I was needed, or what I was going to do.
I stopped into triage to get some materials (gloves, delivery kit, absorbent pads). The doctor and midwives there had heard that something had happened outside, but they had their hands full with patients who were already inside.
Out the gate, down to the corner, with the brancardiers (orderlies) at my side. I asked them to bring the stretcher, just in case. We waded through the usual throngs at the gate and on the sidewalk. A tall man in dreads and a beret was leading us, beckoning onwards.
Waded through traffic on Delmas, which was not nearly as scary an experience as I would have thought, probably because perhaps a lot of people were waiting for us, probably also because we stood out, me in my MSF shirt, the brancardiers in their sky-blue scrubs. At the time I wasn?t thinking that much about it, but I generally have a policy to cross roads with locals rather than on my own. Locals know how local traffic works.
Wow, when they said, ?dans le carrefour,? they were not exaggerating. Literally in the middle of the intersection, a beat-up station wagon had stopped dead, oblivious to traffic. (And it is a very busy intersection which contributes significantly to the noise in Jude-Anne.) Inside, a woman in the back seat, her head on her companion?s lap, and a baby between her knees.
Fortunately, the baby looked great. Pink and dry, cord no longer pulsating. Not even crying. She looked pretty comfortable on the back seat.
Someone suggested that the car pull up to the corner, about 5 meters ahead. This seemed like a good idea. We walked with it. Once there, I clamped and cut the cord. Bundled the baby in the green pads. I asked the brancardiers if they wanted to get this woman out of the car. A smiling man at my elbow told me he was the father. And that he and I could go together with the baby back to the hospital. The car would bring the mother.
So we waded back through traffic, me following the dad, baby in my arms. The car completed the left turn and pulled up to our ambulance bay at the same time. The orderlies helped her out of the car and I delivered the placenta in the usual fashion, on a triage bed.
The question is, why did they stop so abruptly in the intersection? They were clearly trying to turn left to get to Jude-Anne. The baby stopped everything.