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    Lagosian ‘surrogate mother’ struggles for her life after delivering triplets

    – threatens court action against hospital

    Three years ago, Miss Gift Danjuma, a single parent, took the decision to go into surrogate motherhood, a process that produced triplets for the unidentified hopeful parents.

    But that singular decision has turned out to be her greatest undoing, as she is presently battling complications that resulted from a cesarean section she had while birthing the set of triplets at a Lagos hospital.

    At the moment, the chances of the 32-year-old woman giving birth to another child are very slim, as her cervix was damaged in the process.  Doctors said except she undergoes a corrective surgery, she might live the rest of her life visiting the hospital for temporal remedy.

    My ordeal

    When Crime Guard visited the Nasarawa state born, she looked like a shadow of her old self.  She shook her head in regret, wishing the hand of the clock would be turned back, to undo what she has done. 

    She traced the genesis of her ordeal to  December 26, 2018,  after she subscribed to Meet  Surrogate Mothers Agency at Lekki Lagos State.  She stated that she needed the money to fend for her son who was 13 years old then.

     After a series of medical examinations and tests, she  said she was certified fit for the purpose by Dr. Thaddeus Ogbueke, at  Emobile Specialist Hospital (owned by the surrogacy centre) 

    According to her, “ In  February 2019 the embryo was transferred into my womb ,  two weeks after, I was confirmed pregnant. When I was three months gone,  the CEO,  Meet  Surrogate Mothers Agency, Mrs. Ronke Thadius, informed me that the Intended Parents (IP) wanted me to use the hospital instead of the agency’s hospital. I agreed.

    “ I went to the hospital where I was registered and assigned to  a  Gynecologist.  I was scheduled to go to the hospital every two weeks  for regular check-ups.

    “At a stage of the pregnancy, I was unable to sleep or breathe well because it was multiple pregnancies. I complained to the doctor who told me to come to the hospital for a checkup. When I got to the hospital,  I was admitted  because the test conducted showed early signs of labour. I was hospitalized for over two months.

    Complication

    When the pregnancy was 30 weeks, Mrs. Ronke Thadius told them to carry out a  Caesarean Section, CS on me because of the weight of the babies and my well-being.  But the doctor declined, suggesting rather,  that I should stay for an additional four weeks. He said if the CS was done at 30 weeks, it would affect the mental health of the babies. I had no choice but to agree “.

    By September 4, 2019, the CS was carried out and the babies were brought and given to their hopeful parents.

    While the hopeful parents went home happy, the same could not be said of Gift, as she said she woke up with excruciating pains that lingered until the third day when she saw the doctor.

    She said: “ He asked me to go for a scan, which I did.  The scan result showed, there were particles of blood in the uterus.  The doctor took me back to the theater on Sunday for evacuation.

    My nightmare

    “On Monday,  September 2019, I almost lost my life. My blood pressure was high,  and I was  cold at the same time. About five doctors were trying to stabilise my condition.

     ”Eventually, I was discharged from the hospital on September 11, 2019. But the pains came again when I got home.  My menstrual period stopped for about six months and when it resumed, it came with severe pains. I have gone to several laboratories  and hospitals in search of solutions to my health issues and each time I get to the lab or hospitals I always put a call through to the doctor at the hospital where I had the babies.”

    Explaining further, Gift said, “a week after I was discharged I started calling and complaining about my health condition to them. Each time I called, the doctor would say I was not using a good laboratory that could effectively diagnose the problem.

    “Three months ago, I visited the Gbagada General Hospital to run some tests ( hysterosalpingogram ).

    But the radiologist could not get through to my cervix, and neither did my  Gynecologist and three other doctors.  They tried to insert a catheter inside me on three different occasions but they couldn’t get through to my cervix. They gave me a referral letter to LASUTH for further consultations.”

     ”I called the CEO of  Meet Surrogate Mothers agency who gave me an appointment to see a Doctor. After examination, the doctor confirmed that he could not get through to my cervix and that there might have been complications during the Cesarean section or evacuation exercise.

    “ I was told to go back to the hospital where I did  CS  for a corrective surgery to be performed. I have repeatedly made a demand for my medical reports at the hospital but they refused to give me”.

    Crime Guard learned that the alleged refusal of the hospital to hand over her medical report to her may not be unconnected with an undisclosed amount  Gift owed them. The amount was for some tests conducted on her early this month, as a result of the complication.

    Threat to sue

    Her lawyer,  Evans  Ufeli, told Crime Guard that a 14- working days Pre-action notice had been given to the hospital to address the issue. He urged the hospital to restore Gift  to the normal health condition she was before the CS was carried out on her.

    He said, “  having carefully examined the matter under reference, we hereby give you the next 14 working days to address the issue under reference in the best possible way and restore our client to the normal health condition she was before the CS was carried out on her, failing which we shall have no other option than to proceed against you in the court of law for redress.”

     When Crime Guard called the CEO Meet the surrogate mother, to get their version of what happened, she said I have told Gift to stop releasing my number to the media, I have told her, she should stop it, I am not interested in whatever trouble she is trying to make. I am not interested. She ended the call.

    The second time, she said don’t call my number again, please don’t call my number again, I am talking to you politely now, don’t let me cut the call on you. Please stop it. Whatever Gift told you, whatever, she has said go with it; tell whatever story she wants to tell. Keep me out of it, I am not interested.”

    When contacted the doctor at the hospital said Gift was a surrogate that had a difficult pregnancy and was in admission for a long time and  had elective Caesarean session delivery, after the delivery three years ago she was discharged after six days in admission which is normal because of the multiple pregnancy that she had. She had a bit of fever, for someone who had triplets we had to put her on bed rest for some time. She was discharged without any complications or problems. Only for her to call a few months back that she was trying to go for a test and they couldn’t find her cervix.  I said it is not possible. She can’t attribute it to an operation that she did. After an elective planned delivery, your womb will contract, it will go down. Since we didn’t operate on her cervix, it can’t just disappear.

    Unfortunately, I don’t own the hospital, I consult for them, and they can’t allow you to come in without paying to be seen. And I think that angered her. When you work for someone you can’t determine the pace.

    What I suspect is wrong with her is a very small issue, but she doesn’t seem to have an experienced gynecologist.

    Unfortunately for her, I can’t see her free of charge.

    She went to meet the clinical director of the hospital, after narrating her story to them they told her that when she did her surgery three years ago there was no complication, she  can’t come now and say you have a complication after three years.  The cesarean section doesn’t cause the disappearance of the cervix, I have never heard of that before. The hospital told her if she wanted to do a scan she will need to pay for it.

    She got a lawyer, who wrote to the hospital. Her medical report which she is demanding will be sent to her through the hospital legal unit, They will give it to her.

    No one can deny her, her medical result, it  is her right. If it hasn’t been sent to her or her lawyer it simply means that it is still being processed. She can’t make an allegation against me, I don’t own the hospital, I consult for them.

    What I think is wrong with her is that maybe she has an infection that closed the cervix a bit. The issue is that she wants the hospital to foot her bills, she is not a patient of the hospital, it was the intending parents that brought her for antenatal care, after the CS you went home fine, three years later you have a complaint you are attributing  to a surgery you had three years ago, it is not fair on the hospital if you ask me. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do, I am not the owner of the hospital, I consult for them.

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