22 Nov 08
We've developed the floor delivery index as a measure of how relatively busy it is at the hospital on any given day.
It's always busy, of course. But some days are more busy than others.
I've run out of superlative adjectives to describe what is happening at Jude Anne, even to the staff that work there. I couldn't verbalize what I thought about the third public maternity closing, when I heard the news. The doctor who informed me told me that he felt terrible about it, as a Haitian, that when they told him, he felt like he was having a heart attack.
I've called it ridiculous, unacceptable, unbelievable. I ask lots of rhetorical questions, like, where are women supposed to go to deliver' How are we going to manage even more patients coming to Jude Anne' Where are we going to put them'
But I feel like I am overusing these words and phrases. They become to mean so little.
So, the floor delivery index. It is what it sounds like: how many women deliver on the floor on any given day. It's a function of how busy the staff are, how occupied the triage and delivery beds are, and how we sometimes can't attend to women waiting to be seen until something spectacular happens.
That said, though, I will add that our midwives are very professional. Floor deliveries are not usually uncontrolled or unattended. Usually the midwives spread out a little absorbent pad for the patient, and are right down with her delivering the baby with clamps and scissors in hand.
For example, on Tuesday, I was trying to take a day of rest, to replace the Sunday that I had worked. I wasn't in the hospital. I sent a text message to our British midwife to see how things were going. It was crazy-busy: floor delivery index 6.
Today, we had a visit from some American journalists. I think they were appropriately impressed by the activities in the hospital. We told them, today is a relatively calm day: floor delivery index 1.