August 25th, 2010
06:23 PM ET

Pakistan hospital cut off by floods struggles to help survivors

Brian Walker

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/08/25/pakistan.maternity.hospital/story.hospital.varley.jpg caption="Staff at Gilgit Town's District Headquarters Hospital try to make up for unsanitary conditions by prescribing antibiotics." width=300 height=169]

(CNN) - The baby's heartbeat was failing, the mother needed medicine, and the doctors wanted clean instruments. But three weeks into Pakistan's flooding crisis, staff in one maternity ward in northern Pakistan had nothing but candles and light from a cell phone on hand to perform a high-risk emergency delivery.

The young mother had been pushing for hours as the day turned into a dark gloom. With nothing moving, the physician on duty faced the prospect of a cesarean surgery without anesthetic, or likely death of both mother and child.

The maternity nurse turned to the pregnant woman's mother and whispered, "Which is more important - the mother, or the baby?" She answered adamantly, but also sadly, "The mother."

That was the scene that Dr. Emma Varley found in the delivery room at the Kashrote hospital in Gilgit, more than three weeks after unprecedented flooding hit the town.

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Filed under: Pakistan
soundoff (One Response)
  1. sanity

    It is sickening to see with a deep sense of helplessness the suffering of flood victims.

    August 25, 2010 at 8:13 pm |

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