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Mar 22, 2016

Did Orange Walk Hospital Dispose of Fetus Without Mother’s Consent?

A young mother from the Belize District heard the most devastating news earlier this week. After suffering a miscarriage and preparing for the burial of her unborn child, she was told by the Northern Regional Hospital that they could not locate the fetus she had left at the hospital. As she recovers and grieves, Shamika Flowers is looking for answers since there are discrepancies in what she has been told from the hospital and the Ministry of Health. She told News Five’s Duane Moody that the hospital has offered to pay for burial even though the fetus cannot be located.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Twenty-two year old Shamika Flowers is a resident of Crooked Tree Village off the Phillip Goldson Highway. On Thursday, she visited the clinic in the village before being referred to the Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk. She was almost five months pregnant and was experiencing some complications. There, an expecting mother’s worst nightmare took place; on Friday she had a miscarriage.

 

Shamika Flowers, Suffered a Miscarriage

“I went to the hospital because I was having complications; I am a very high risk person and I went to the hospital and they told me they will have to keep me in. They checked…the baby heartbeat, everything was fine and everything. I was having minor pain and everything when a couple hours later, I lost the baby; wah miscarriage.”

 

Around four-thirty on Sunday afternoon, after spending two days at the hospital, Flowers was released. She and her mother returned on Monday for the body of her unborn child to give him a proper burial. She would learn the unthinkable.  Even though Flowers signed an official document that the fetus was to be placed in the morgue for seventy-two hours, it  could not be located.

 

Shamika Flowers

Shamika Flowers

“I couldn’t bury the baby because it was late. Now Monday when we di try pick up the baby; done built ih tomb, done get ih coffin everything…people di wait fi we dah the church, when they tell we dehn can’t find this baby body. They can’t locate the baby; they noh know weh part ih deh.”

 

Duane Moody

“This came as a surprise for you because you had signed a document saying that you wanted the fetus so that you can bury him yourself.”

 

Shamika Flowers

“Yes, I signed this paper saying they wah have this baby dah the morgue with my signature and my mom’s signature, saying that they will have the baby. When we gone there, they can’t find the baby. One of the nurse halla say please get a red bag like dehn want discard of this baby. I bawl out and I tell them—I was in lot of pain—and I tell them unu please save mi baby. Afterwards they bring the paper, I signed it and they said that the baby gwen dah the morgue. We agreed that the baby gwen dah the morgue. When time fi come, the baby noh deh deh.”

 

The administration at the regional hospital told the family that they would be willing to help with funeral expenses. The Ministry of Health has launched an investigation into the matter and says that the hospital claims that it buried the fetus for the family.

 

Shamika Flowers

“I noh know whe dehn do with the baby; I noh know if dehn bury ahn, I noh know if dehn dash ahn away…I noh know weh dehn do with ahn. But I never give nobody fi dash weh my baby. My baby dah noh no…not even puppy yo dash weh nowadays. My baby dah noh no garbage; I done have my baby coffin and everything for ahn. I can’t go bury wah empty box. My baby dah my baby; I noh care how small ih small. My baby had ih hand, ih foot, ih hair pan ih head…everything. That dah mi wah live human being ina my body. I feel that di move everything. I can’t just dash weh my baby like that. Now I want know where my baby deh; that dah weh I want know.”

 

It’s an overwhelming experience for Flowers and her family because this is the third child that she has lost.

 

Shamika Flowers

“It just break my heart fi know that I already lost my baby, have to deal with it; di try recover and everything and now I noh even have wah baby to bury. My first baby can’t just go like that. Nothing better than a mother’s love and I love my baby lot.”

 

Duane Moody

“And you’ve wanted a child for so long.”

 

Shamika Flowers

“Yes. So long…years. And now finally and now I can’t even bury my baby. Yes I accept that I had a miscarriage and everything, but weh part my baby deh?”

 

The family has since acquired the services of an attorney to deal with the matter. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

Today, the C.E.O. for the Ministry of Health admitted that the fetus had been disposed of by the hospital saying that protocols in place had failed the mother.

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