By Adesida Adewumi MD
I was on study leave to another hospital for training but once in a while anytime I was around I usually came back to our hospital to say hello to my other colleagues and helped them out in their work because of manpower shortage in my primary hospital.
It was on one of such occasions I came home from where I was doing my programme and I decided to pop illllto the hospital and say hello. I met only one doctor on duty. He had two elective cesarean sections (ELCS) to perform (elective cesarean section is an operation you do to deliver a pregnant woman but it is planned ahead, not an emergency). I decided to help him take one of the ELCSs so that he did not get overworked.
We have three theatres in my hospital. As I changed my clothes to the theartre gown to enter the theartre, needed to first go through the case note of my patient to know her and to know her case. As I opened the case note at the upper right hand of the case note, my eyes caught what was written there, i was shocked.llll It was written there, 25 years old woman with history of abortions 15 times but now presently carrying triplets. I went over that again. I had to ask matron where was this patient. Matron took me to her. She was still in the ward. I was interested in her story. I introduced myself to her and told her the reason why she had not been seeing me around in the hospital all through her antenatal care. I worked in the hospital but for now away on training. She introduced herself too with this beaming smile. I told her I would be doing her ELCS because my other colleague had many things on his hands so I decided to help him out. She said no problem as far as I was competent, she had no problem with me doing her operation. I told her I went through her file to familiarise myself with her case and something caught my attention in her file.
Before I could finish, she smiled again and said, “Dr. Ade I am a product of grace and mercy like my name”. Her name was Mrs Mercy. I told her I agreed 100 % but I was just curious how at 25 years, she had gone through her experience.
She said, “Sit down, let me tell you a little about my life, doctor.
“I grew up without a father or any mother and I needed to survive. It was in the process I had to use what I had to get what I wanted since men would not help you without expecting something in return. I had to give what I had. I slept with more than 100 men doctor, most times without using any family planning or protection. In fact I had slept with practically every man I came across that showed interest in my body. In the process I got pregnant 15 times and I aborted them all. It was after my last abortion, I met my husband in the second year of my HND programme. He was moved by my story but didn’t judge me and decided to marry me. This was my first pregnancy after getting married. I came for antenatal care and discovered I was carrying three babies.
“Your colleague advised me that because of my small stature and being the first time I was carrying a pregnancy to full term, It might not be safe for me to deliver them by myself. So here I am doctor.”
My eyes quickly ran down to her tests results inside her case note I was holding to see all her tests results if I would see something like HIV positive, or hepatitis virus positive, or any other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), I saw none. She was clean as a whistle. She was looking at me as I was engrossed in reading her case note.
As if reading my mind, she said, “Dr., I am free of any disease, not even HIV.” I looked at her and laughed. I was forced to ask her if i could share her story with my readers in my column, for she was indeed a product of mercy and grace. She responded, “Dr., share my story with your followers, I am a product of mercy and grace, indeed”.
Ladies and gentlemen, something else happened that day that scared me the more about God’s mercy and grace for this woman. As I was interacting with her and ready to wheel her into the operation room, a nurse in accident and emergency unit raised an alarm that more 18 accident patients had just been rushed into our hospital accident and emergency (A&E) unit.
I had to excuse Mrs Mercy to join them in A&E to save lives that are more at stake. In the medical profession, there is something we call TRIAGE. It simply means prioritising your patients. You save the ones that can die first and attend later to those that the risk is less. That was what I did in this case. The ELCS of Mrs Mercy had to wait. We were in the A&E unit saving the victims and one of them needed emergency operation which took us another eight hours in the theatre, and another two hours.
When we finished, myself and my colleague had to go to the Doctors Room to rest for a while before taking Mrs Mercy’s case. We were there resting when the midwife in gynecology ward sent an urgent message to me of another emergency. I rushed there.
Guess what I met. It was the head of one of Mrs Mercy’s babies staring at me. I was told she fell into labour, but because of the other emergencies they decided not to call me. I quickly changed my clothes back to theartre wears and took all the universal precautions and started conducting multiple births delivery. I couldn’t even wheel her to the theartre again. The first baby was successfully delivered, second one followed promptly and the third one effortlessly.
She had a little tear and was sown. She had no bleeding. She was very stable. She asked for food immediately. The babies too were stable. This was another work of mercy and grace. Infact unbelievable for me as a medical doctor that this woman escaped the operation knife. I looked at her as if to say, “you, again”. She started laughing. She said “Dr, I am a product of grace and mercy I have told you over and over, you won’t believe me”
As I finished in the hospital that day and was on my way home, many lessons engulfed my mind in awe of God.
Firstly, please, ladies and gentlemen, believe it or not, there is something called mercy and grace. Only God has them and only God chooses how much of it He makes available to a particular person. How else do I explain unprotected sex with more than 100 men without a single STD? 15 abortions? Triplets’ pregnancy immediately after getting married? And an escape from an operation to deliver a first pregnancy with multiple births, with such small stature?. All these are not medically logical. This can only be by The mercy of God. Mind you, I am not justifying her previous lifestyle which leaves a lot, a whole lot, to be desired on the moral compass, but I guess, that is the job of the Righteous Judge of the souls of all men, who watched her through all of her questionable ways.
Number two lesson: I wrote this story with Mrs Mercy’s resounding warning that I should plead with all my readers never to follow her footsteps in the way she went about her journey in life because it was just purely God’s mercy and grace that saw her through without losing her life. I agreed with her 100%. If you have been taking risks with your life, I beg you to stop today and now, because the grace and mercy of Mrs Mercy may not be as much as your own.
Lastly, God has his own reason for preserving a soul alive despite all the odds against them and that is His own prerogative of mercy, not yours, not mine. You just do the right thing and leave the rest to God.
Happy Easter to all my readers.
▪ Dr. Adewumi, is with the Department of Family Medicine, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, AKTH, Kano, Nigeria
Smallish 25 years old, 15 abortions; but now pregnant and due…with triplets!
By Adesida Adewumi MD