Onesima Montero, Dominicaanse Republiek - Bloedverlies
Onesima died after giving birth at a hospital in the Dominican Republic in the early hours of October 20, 2005. She was found by her relatives when they came to visit her between two and six o' clock in the afternoon. She died from heavy bleeding. The doctors and nurses had never checked on Onesima in the hours after she gave birth. She had been completely wrapped up because of the cold that women can experience after giving birth, and for this reason no one realized her state, nor did they investigate. Onesima was 29 years old.
This story was collected by a team working to discover why so many women die in the Dominican Republic - despite comparatively good education and access to health care. This suggests that the quality of maternity care in the Dominican Republic is poor.
Onesima clearly died of neglect. Many women's lives could be saved if health care workers were better trained, and held accountable for their treatment of women.
Delfina, Bolivia - Hoge bloeddruk en stuipen
Delfina was 29 years old when she died. She lived with her husband and two children; she never learned how to read or write. She experienced four pregnancies, one abortion, two home deliveries, and a post-mortem caesarean section surgery (keizersnede na haar overlijden) in her lifetime.
Delfina received family planning counseling (voorlichting over anticonceptie) and condoms once. She tried using contraceptive pills for a short time but stopped using them for a variety of reasons - one being that her husband did not agree.
In November 2005, Delfina, who was 14 weeks into her fourth pregnancy, went to the health facility for her first prenatal visit (zwangerschapscontrole). In February 2006, she went back for her third prenatal visit and everything seemed to be fine with her and her baby's health. Delfina went to her fourth prenatal visit before her assigned date (uitgerekende datum) since she had started experiencing headaches. At the health facility, they found that Delfina's blood pressure was much higher than previous visits and she had gained an excessive amount of weight.
On March 20 around 10 pm, Delfina had a severe headache and abdominal pain (buikpijn). Her mother-in-law gave her an herb tea and wet her head. The next morning, at 6:30 am, Delfina's sister-in-law went to the health facility to call the auxiliary nurse (assistent verpleegkundige). The nurse did not identify the danger signs and gave Delfina's sister-in-law a pain-reliever tablet to give to Delfina without examining her. An hour later, the auxiliary nurse went to Delfina´s home to check on her. She measured her blood pressure and found it to be very high. She consulted with the doctor over the phone and was told to give Delfina a drug used to treat high blood pressure. After some time, Delfina's blood pressure still had not dropped, so the nurse administrated another tablet to Delfina and left.
After Delfina took the second pill, her headache subsided a bit, but then she began vomiting and had convulsions (stuipen). This occurred around 10:00 am and the nurse could not be found. Delfina's condition worsened so her in-laws arranged for a car and took her to the hospital, where they arrived at 11:00 am.
At the hospital, Delfina was examined. The doctor emerged from Delfina's room, asked for oxygen to be arranged for her and told her family she was not well and was in critical condition. The hospital registered Delfina at 11:20 am with the diagnosis of eclampsia (zwangerschapsvergiftiging) and coma. She died at 12:10 pm. Doctors performed a post-mortem caesarean section surgery (keizersnede na overlijden) on Delfina and she had a daughter who only weighed a little more than two kilograms and died of neonatal asphyxia (zuurstofgebrek rondom de geboorte) three days later.