In December 2016, Dr. Swabra Swaleh Breik wowed the medical world by operating on a pregnant woman while carrying her own toddler on her back. She was also three months pregnant at that time.
It was at Ol Kalou District Hospital, Nyandarua County. She was called upon to attend to an emergency. A woman experiencing labour pains urgently needed Cesarean delivery.
Her own baby was asleep in the house and she had no one to leave her with. Dr. Swabra immediately swung into action. A photo of her in action- child strapped on her back, scalpel in hand- hit the interwebs and immediately went viral.
Speaking to TV47’s MorningCafe on Monday, Dr. Breik said all she thought about at the time was saving that patient’s life.
“In my head that time, I had a woman who was in front of me dying, and had I not gone into that surgery with my son on the back, we probably would have lost her,” Dr. Breik narrated.
Being a mother, she said, she experienced similar problems as others. “The nanny had left, we had no other support system. Government hospitals as we know, have skeleton staff during the weekends. My son was crying, do I leave him down as I do the surgery?”- Dr. Breik said.
The surgery turned out well for her, acknowledging that her child slept all through the procedure, which allowed her to work smoothly. The patient named her child “Swabra”, after the gynaecologist.
Recalling the events, Dr. Breik revealed that she shares the photo with her son, now six years old, as she tells him about that historic day. “He says, ‘Yea, I operated with mummy on my back,'” said the doctor as she smiled.
She is based at Premier Hospital in Mombasa. The obstetrician/gynaecologist maintained that maternal care is subject-based. For example, she admits that she is a product of teenage pregnancy.
With this understanding, Dr. Breik noted that there are unique risks with each pregnancy, ranging from one’s age, pre-existing medical conditions and so on.
Here is the full “The Journey of Pregnancy” interview: