author photo

Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

Lights and Shadows on a Hospital Bed

January 7, 2013 | Print Print |

Osmel Almaguer

Cuban doctor and baby. Photo: Sergio Leyva

HAVANA TIMES — The achievements of Cuban medicine — which are more than a few — are tarnished by cases that are not as isolated as one might think. Just a few weeks ago my cousin gave birth to a baby, during which time her life was threatened because of a series of bad decisions by staff attending her.

First, when her delivery date came, she was sent back home since she wasn’t evidencing the typical signs, contractions, dilation, etc. Days later, things got complicated because the unborn baby defecated inside the womb and its umbilical cord got tangled around its neck.

I had heard of this happening when the gestation exceeds its term, but I’ve never received any expert opinion concerning this.

Luckily for everyone, the child was born as well as could be expected in a situation like that. Once safe and sound, it was then the life of the mother that came into play.

A simple injection, misapplied, ended up being too short to reach the muscle, which caused a large swelling in her right buttock that resulted in an infection. When trying to control the situation with an antibiotic, this produced a severe allergic reaction.

On this point I’m still pretty confused. Was it that her parents know about this allergy and it didn’t appear in your medical charts, or was it recorded and the doctors didn’t notice it?

Yet not only was there an infection, there was also swelling. They finally managed to control the allergy with another drug, but the infection remained. The decision was to cut open her skin, without anesthetic, to let the pus out.

The life of my cousin has returned to normal but not without her having to go through a long and painful process, during which time she never stopped breastfeeding her infant son.


What's your opinion?

  • Griffin

    My prayers and best wished your your cousin and her new baby. I’m glad to hear they are ok now.

  • Sergio

    They think that cuban doctors are the best. Well they have knowledge but do they have the technology on hands to intensify researches about illness etc. All equipment like x-rays machine etc, is out of date, old and rusted, higiene is terrible, and lack of enthusiasm is part of this problem, besides the lack of knowledge. They are even sending what they called “Doctors” which they are not. There are many complaints about it in Venezuela, in fact because of one cuban doctor, a lady lost her child,Why?, well gave her antibiotics, never heard such of that mistake in a pregnant woman. In fact a doctor from there asked him what kind of a doctor was he, he said I am from Cuba, he told him, who cares, you are not a doctor, you just kill a baby for lack of knowledge. So sad. Here is why I do believe so much about cuban medicine, I will not even let them take care of a wound. Thanks.Sergio. Can you imagine Colera once again. How ridiculous is that.