NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Dozens of women have taken to social media to recount horrific experiences at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) Maternity Ward – many revealing they’ve lost their children in the process.
Conditions at the facility have been severely strained during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The firestorm was sparked by a Facebook post from 35-year-old mother Kayla Edwards-Dean, who reportedly lost her twin boys during labor last month.
“The treatment of maternity patients in Princess Margaret Hospital is absolutely terrible,” Edwards Dean said.
“I witnessed the mistreatment of women first hand and I also endured six days of hell and lived to tell the story.
“Senior management has no idea what the situation is at the hospital.
She said: “People are dying due to lack of care, in particular, women who have come to give birth.
“I was poorly treated and neglected after having been found to be COVID-free. I am using my voice for ladies who died in silence and alone.”
According to Edwards-Dean, the loss was compounded by post-natal care that saw her placed on COVID-19 treatment despite testing negative for the virus, and alleged mistreatment and discrimination from health professionals.
The mother of a two-year-old and 13-year-old said she was admitted to the PMH Maternity Ward on August 18 with an elevated pulse, strong contractions, and intense labor pains.
She and her husband, Tai Dean, had initially planned to deliver their sons in the United States.
However the global coronavirus pandemic derailed those plans, forcing her to seek care at PMH.
Edwards-Dean said when she arrived at the facility it took two and a half hours before she was seen by a doctor, despite her continuous screams for urgent medical assistance.
By that point, Edwards-Dean said she felt weak and nauseous and began vomiting.
As time moved “agonizingly forward”, she said she cried in pain as the labor contractions intensified.
Edwards-Dean said she was taken to the theatre and placed under general anesthesia to perform a cesarean section almost five hours later, around 2.43 am.
“Hours later, I woke up to hear the lady and a mass choir of nurses singing in the background to tell me the kids did not make it,” she wrote.
“This broke my spirit and I lost my fight.
“I blacked out and came back and then they came to show me my twin baby boys.
She said: “The bruises on their lips were evidence of a fight. I was devastated that I came there and my babies were alive and now they were not.”
After the surgery, Edwards-Dean said her experience only worsened when she was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit because her breathing had deteriorated.
She said she tested negative for COVID-19 before she entered the facility and while she was there.
Still, she said she was given breathing assistance and being treated for fluid around her heart and lungs.
She described the treatment by healthcare workers at the facility as “appalling” noting that she believes she was unable to get adequate assistance due to the fear that she had COVID-19.
Edwards-Dean said her family was in the dark over her condition for days, with her husband unable to obtain any information despite repeated attempts.
Tai Dean said he was unable to get an update on his wife’s condition and even had a health care professional hang up on him while trying to get details over the phone.
Edwards-Dean noted that after days of applying pressure, her family was able to receive information on her care and a doctor intervened in her treatment.
It took several more days before she was cleared to go back to the post-natal ward and the incision from her cesarean had finally been checked, five days later.
The Public Hospitals Authority did not respond to requests for comment on the issue up to press time.
The social media post saw an outpouring of support and responses from other women who shared personal stories of their own horrific experiences while giving birth at the facility.
The original post garnered over 700 comments and thousands of shares.
Since the post went viral, a petition against the treatment of mothers at PMH has garnered renewed attention.
The petition which was started nearly two years ago by Celeste Sweeting was nearing its goal of 16,500 signatures yesterday, with a new goal of 25,000 signatures.
Thousands of signatures have been added to the petition over the weekend.
It follows the death of a 20-year old COVID-19 positive woman, who died at PMH just six days after giving birth to a baby boy.
The woman’s mother detailed her daughter’s last days in the hospital in an interview The Nassau Guardian.
Edwards-Dean said because the young woman was not able to tell her story, she felt compelled to share her own.