Obstructed Labor

Obstructed Labor

Obstructed Labor

We all have to die someday.  I get that.  All of our lives hold a measure of suffering. I understand that.  But not this.  For a woman to die from obstructed labour is an unimaginable horror that still happens here in the jungle.  This is actually an almost unheard of event in our modern world. Women do die from the surgical complications of a c-section.  But I would venture that few obstetricians would even know how long it might take to die from obstructed labour.  No one comes close to waiting that long. One of my medic students had such a case.   It took a week.

Here, if having a couple of strong men vigorously pushing on the pregnant uterus (also not a good option) fails to push the baby out, they resort to cutting it out in pieces.  This is not about pro-choice versus pro-life.  It is not about killing an unwanted unborn child. Its about having no choices and being desperately for life.

obstructed labor

This is a picture of the scalp of a 42 year old Karen man.  When he was being born, it looked like he was going to be the cause of an obstructed labour.  They started to cut him out by making  a deep cut into his skull.  Again I cannot imagine the horrors of what was happening during that procedure to make them stop. Or what suddenly made mom decide she would push him out or literally die trying. But for some reason they stopped.  Nor can I imagine what the parents must have felt caring for their precious newborn son and his horrible wound.  Skin eventually inched over the jagged cut in the bone. Miraculously, the man had no problems for the first 35 years of his life. Thinking about this picture shakes my soul.  For me, it has come to stand for the horrors of no obstetrical healthcare in the area.  … And I would really like to change that.






Dr. Mitch has run several medical programs in remote places. Enjoy’s exploring new worlds with enthusiastic experts in their fields…  anything in medicine, science, history, art, music, engineering, philosophy, multimedia, IT. He has recently conceded that he’s not likely going to get to go to the moon in his lifetime. But Antarctica is still on the list.  




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