Woman medevac from Maewo recovering at VCH

Angela Gesa, at the Vila Central Hospital, still hooked up to a drip, sits up from her bed at the Maternity Ward for our photo with her husband, Simon.

By Jonas Cullwick

A woman, 28 weeks pregnant, from Maewo Island, is recovering at the Vila Central Hospital after being medevacked on Tuesday.

Angela Gesa, aged 40 from the most inland village of Ngota, was medevacked with the help of the use of the telemedicine service on the island after she began bleeding profusely.

The former Peace Corp volunteer, Alexis Cullen, who was instrumental in the establishment of the telemedicine service on Maewo, posted on social media on Tuesday informing family members and relatives about the situation of the woman.

“Everyone please pray, in any form, send positive thoughts.

“They just medevaced a woman from Maewo who is pregnant.

She was working in her garden when she started bleeding heavily and there’s no movement from the baby,” she posted.

“Thanks to courageous and fast decision making by the health care staff on Maewo Island and the doctors connected to them via telemedicine, she left about an hour ago on a chartered flight to the major referral hospital in Port Vila.

“I can’t stop thinking about her and the baby,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

She thanked Nurse Steven Leo at Kerepei Health Centre, Dr. Roderick Mera at Godden Memorial Hospital at Lolowai, Ambae, Dr. Lawrence Boe at the Northern Provincial Hospital at Luganville, Santo and Dr. Basil Leodoro.

Dr. Leodoro, who even though was on suspension by the Public Service Commission, was always willing to assist in these kinds of situations.

Nurse Steven Leo says the woman was suffering from grand multips, meaning she was bearing too many children – seven with the eighth she is bearing now and she was not feeling the baby move.

At the Vila Central Hospital, she was diagnosed with placenta previa.

Bleeding after the 20th week of gestation is the main symptom of placenta previa.

Speaking to the Daily Post from her hospital bed at the Maternity Ward of VCH with her husband, Simon Gesa, by her side and looking much better, Angela described how she was working in her garden on Monday when she started bleeding heavily.

She said with her husband and family members accompanying them, they decided to walk the 600-meter steep hill down to Naviso on the eastern side of the island arriving at 7pm. The Nurse at Naviso told them they must get to Kerepei Health Centre on the west of the island. So, they started off back up the steep hill with the woman still bleeding and arriving at Ngota where the Nurse Aid at the village Aid Post gave her an injection before they continued the long walked over several hills and valleys down to Kerepei, about two-and-a-half times the distance to Naviso. They arrived at Kerepei at 12 midnight.

“Nurse Steven Leo began working on my wife still bleeding and the next morning they began making arrangements for my wife to be medevac to either Godden Memorial Hospital or Northern Provincial Hospital in Luganville,” the woman’s husband said, adding, “It was finally decided she be flown to Santo.”

“But when the plane arrived at Malolo airport Nurse Steven saw the pilot and he said the weather in Luganville was bad and the plane will not be able to land, so they decided we come her to Vila,” he added.

The hospital ambulance was at Bauerfield airport and took the woman to the hospital Emergency Unit arriving around 7pm on Tuesday. At the Emergency Unit it was confirmed her baby was alive and she was treated and transferred to the Maternity ward where she is receiving further treatment.

This positive outcome in this story is the result of the successful use of the telemedicine network and the wonderful cooperation of a lot of health practitioners and doctors who work to save lives.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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