Mother with twins on obstructed labour (June 2022).
Alotau Hospital informed us at around 11.45am that there was a first time mother from Sudest Isl. presently at Misima hospital in labour for 2 days and there was no progress in her cervical graph. She was carrying twins. Could we help. The resident doctor was away recovering from an appendicitis operation in Alotau. We had medivaced him and his family out of Misima 13 days earlier. The RPT was canceled due to a boggy airstrip and weather.
Obstructed labour in a first time mother carrying twins is disasterous in an isolated place with no medical back up. Both mother and babies lives are in eminent danger .
After fueling up all tanks, Kila and I took of at 1.15pm Misima is a 3-4 hour turn around trip for the Beaver. Rex, HEO at Misima told us there was heavy rain over Misima but looked like clearing. At Gurney it was fine but cloudy. Heading east down Milne Bay we could see the heavy cloud banks building up on our track to Misima isl. At the Conflicts group of Islands we entered a heavy rain storm which we couldn’t avoid. We were stuck in the downpour for 5 minutes which seems like an eternity in a small aircraft flying on instruments with no visual.
Thanks to Mundango we had recently upgraded our radios and navigation to the latest Garmin touch screen 355 making navigation in bad weather safer for us and patient. We came out of the cloud burst to find Misima Isl. directly in front of us 50 nautical miles away. It was covered in heavy rain clouds as it usually is but over the airstrip it was clear. We landed to the east and the airstrip was indeed boggy. The ambulance was already waiting so turnaround was only 20 minutes.
Our mother was in some obvious discomfort and pain and couldn’t walk as the babies were now jammed in her pelvis. I’m in awe of PNG rural mothers how strong and incredibly brave they are. Kila settled her in the Beaver while I topped up the bottom tanks with fuel carried in Jerry cans stowed in the float compartments. Taxing out was interesting. The airstrip has a spongy fungus growing over the coronous so it’s wet and slippery. This dies off in the dry season. We had to power up to taxi to the top end of runway 08 and slid dangerously close to the drop off on turning for take off. Just another learning experience for Misima.
The trip home was better weather wise with the clouds now disappearing to the north west and sun breaking through over a grey sea – Kila was looking after the mother in the back while her sister guardian was in the co pilot seat asleep.
Our mother was sitting up looking out the window reflecting on events and probably thinking how lucky she was to be on her way to Alotau Hospital (AGH) for help. Our mother underwent emergency Caesar on arrival at AGH by the excellent obstetric team, Alice, Rodney, Grace and nursing staff. Both mother and babies are well.
Thank you to out team and supporters and especially Mundango.