Labor and delivery is very different in the small community hospital in Mexico. There is a large shared labor room with one tocodynamometer and busy interns taking vitals every so often. Sometimes they use the Pinard horn to detect and count the fetal heart beat. There is minimal privacy as curtains are more for decoration than to separate the beds. I’ve seen them being used once for inserting a suppository pill. So everyone is lying on their beds, being examined in full view of everyone else. No one seems to mind though. When a woman is fully dilated and ready to deliver, she is transferred to one of three delivery rooms. There, the baby is delivered by the obstetrician or intern.
One of the interns told me how busy it had been while he was on call last night. He had done his own rounds, checking on all of his patients. One of his patients was a nulliparous woman who was still in stage I of labor. He didn’t think she was going to deliver anytime soon. So he made sure she was comfortable and went along to take care of his other patients. He took one mother to the delivery room to deliver the baby. That went smoothly with no complications. He was called on to help with another birth. Afterwards, he had to rush another one of his patients to the delivery room. He had barely put on one glove, when the baby started to come out. He ended up using his coat sleeve as a glove and delivered the baby.
After delivering that baby, he finally had some time to rest. Except the nulliparous woman had already pushed out the child’s head! So he had to deliver the baby on the spot, at her bed in the shared labor room. This was a big mistake on his part. He should have checked up on her before. To make up for his slip-up, he bought a cake for his fellow interns who were on call that night. I was told that it was a common punishment for messing up. Apparently, it’s a tradition for an intern to buy his or her colleagues on the same service cake or pizza if he or she makes a mistake. This way they will be more careful and attentive the next time.
How about that, buying cake instead of malpractice insurance?*
*They do have malpractice insurance, although it is not quite as costly as it is in the US.