It was Sunday afternoon as I walked on to Labor & Delivery to check several patients.  The nurses were concerned about a newborn that had been born prior to arriving at the hospital.

We’ll call the mother Harriett.  This was her 4th child and she had been at home when the labor pains became rather intense.  She lives in a house on stilts with a surrounding veranda just a short drive from our hospital.  As she hurried across the veranda to the stairs, the baby was born.  Baby of Harriet dropped from the birth canal and fell from the edge of the porch.  The sudden jolt severed the placenta and the baby plunged 1.5 meters, impacting on a plank walkway and then  rolled into the dirt.  Harriett then scooped her child up and raced to the hospital where the staff delivered the placenta.  The nurses cleaned the little baby boy who had dirt everywhere.  He still had a little dirt in his ears when I came for the examination.  Other than that he looked pretty healthy.

After an afternoon of observation Baby of Harriett finally started nursing and we all took a sigh of relief.  On Monday he and Harriett were both doing well.  I hear and see many things in PNG I have not seen elsewhere.  This was a first.  A newborn trying to bungee jump.

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