2 women forced to give birth outside city hospital

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013


AN EIGHT-MONTH-OLD pregnant woman gave birth inside a taxicab in front of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), hours after Cebu was struck by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

Joan Salado, 30, and her husband Adrian, 33, decided to name their baby boy Gibbor, which means “strong” in Hebrew.

“Normal ra man siya bisan dili full term. Kusgan gyud ning bataa (Gibbor came out normal even though he was born prematurely. He must be really strong),” Adrian said.

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The baby is 48 centimeters long and weighs 2.6 kilograms.

Joan’s water broke last Monday night yet, two weeks shy of carrying her baby full term.

The couple from Barangay Pusok, Lapu-Lapu City couldn’t afford to have her give birth in a private hospital. They didn’t have P50,000.

Several public hospitals also turned them down because they didn’t incubators.

A premature baby lacks the body fat necessary to maintain body temperature, even when covered in blankets. So the baby must be placed inside an incubator, or a radiant warmer.

Joan was admitted to the CCMC around 4:30 a.m. yesterday. Hospital staff advised her to go home since she was only one centimeter dilated.

When the quake struck at 8:12 a.m., Joan said she suddenly felt a very strong pain.

But the hospital wouldn’t allow her to give birth inside. It had to evacuate the building, which sustained damage during the quake.

With the help of hospital staff, Joan went into labor inside a taxi for less than an
hour.

“Utong gyud ko maayo bahala na ug nag-uyog-uyog pa tungod sa aftershock (I pushed as hard as I could even in the middle of an aftershock),” she said.

As for Nonie Geopano, the driver of the taxi with plate number GXM 707, he said he didn’t charge the couple. “Akoa lang kay makatabang ko. Swerte gyud ni akong taxi kay gianakan (At least I was able to help. Also, a taxi is considered lucky if someone gives birth in it),” he said.

Joan wasn’t the only one who gave birth on the street.

Former Sun.Star Cebu reporter Katrina Kaye Tabanao, 31, also delivered her second child, a boy she named Jethro, on a stretcher on Panganiban St.

When the quake struck, Katrina said she was six centimeters dilated.

“I didn’t panic. I was the only one left in the labor room because the other pregnant women ran out of the room,” she said.

She said she was calm amid the shaking except for a nagging worry for her nine-year-old son Josh.

“But then a big oxygen tank fell and I was thinking of running out of the room but then the others came back so I went to lie on the bed,” she said.

Katrina said the other patients were praying to God for help.

Then a CCMC staff ushered them out of the labor room.

The hospital had set up a makeshift delivery room out on the street.

Less than an hour after the quake, Katrina gave birth to Jethro.

After the hospital gave him his shots, Jethro and his mother went home.

Katrina’s husband Jessie was shot dead last Sept. 14. Jessie was a spokesperson for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 16, 2013.

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