Saturday, January 5, 2013

Having a baby at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital and Badr Al Sama

I recently read a shocking (in terms of horrific unprofessionalism but not quite shocking in that it happened) rudeness in this review by one of my favourite Muscat-based expat bloggers:

Muscat Mutterings: Having a baby at Starcare Hospital – a review

who also wrote the following posts on maternity facts in Oman:

Muscat Mutterings: Giving birth in Oman

Muscat Mutterings: Muscat Private Hospital, and others

I have worked as a healthcare researcher in Oman for my previous employer. I looked at private and government care through out the entire Sultanate of Oman. After my own research, I concluded that I would never ever have my own baby in a private hospital in Oman, though my research did find Al Raffah to be the best, and Muscat private only good for very difficult cases.
[I personally hate Muscat private due to the fact that their negligence actually cause the death of my own father. Their rudeness was to tell him he was wrong about his condition. The arrogance of doctors to ignore his pleas for a different test...Turns out, he was right, when he was finally admitted to the government Royal Hospital. He would have been easy to save if something was done about his condition when he first started contradicting his Muscat Private cardiologist. But of course, that isn't maternity.]
Since I have a very primal grudge against the institution that ignored my father and mother's pleas for something to be done before it was too late....I can't review something I never put myself through, except to say statistically Al Raffah hospital out of all the private hositals had the least incidence reports concerning maternity. Though the fertility section of Muscat private (not maternity) is the best in Oman [not even I can contradict that].
My own review: I was probably the worst prepared mother in the history of Oman. The government, unable to decide if I was Omani or expat left me hanging as to where I would or would not be allowed to deliver. Was my care free or not ect? We kept being told, my care would be able to be had through government clinics but this was not the case, so we actually ended up going to Badr Al Sama to get our scans and test work done.
By luck, I suppose, I found a very capable, respectful, and clear in explainations gynecologist (an Indian) and ultra-sound woman (an Iraqi doctor) through the Barka location of Badr Al Sama. Yes, to me it WAS worth it to me, to drive all the way to see them. Through-out the course of my pregnancy I saw many others through other hospitals. They were THE BEST. Though, I usually would take my prescriptions, explainations and scans through the Barka Badr Al Sama, I would end up going to the Al Khoud Badr Al Sama for any bloodwork testing to be done simply because their nurses for needles knew how to inject the needles painlessly whereas the Barka location this remained an issue (and I DID kick a starecare nurse, and Barka Badr Al Sama nurse). But thankfully, one can take a prescription from any Badr al Sama location to any other Badr Al Sama, so it worked for us.
As for timings, I never purchased a care package from Badr Al Sama. I paid for each of my tests and scans individually as a walk in basis as required. It turned out to cost waaaaay less that any usual package. I never had to wait more than 30 minutes to see my doctors in Barka Badr Al Sama without an appointment, although I did have to wait a good while to get any kind of bloodwork done as Al Khoud location is much busier (still worth it for the nurses who are better with needles).
I had a pretty healthy pregnancy beyond the fact that I am anemic and this causes a little difficulty, and I had a little blood spotting and had to be admitted. Unfortunately, Barka Badr Al Sama DOES not have an emergancy ward so we ended up driving to Al Khoud. There, it was far to early in the a.m. for the doctors to be there, so nurses phoned for my diagnonsis. I guess they neglected to tell the doctor about my anemia, because I was given a medecine to stop early labour that unfortunately, nearly killed me. The medcine instructed I eat before taking, which I did, but it also said somewhere in the fine print, not to take if one has dangerously low iron levels. Which I did. So my blood pressure dropped dangerously, and I passed out literally trying to tell a nurse what was wrong on top of her. I woke up hooked up to oxygen and all, and baby Princess and I were all right, alhamdulilah. But that was scary. I don't suggest ever leaving one's care to the nurses at Badr Al Sama without a seeing a doc . first.
I may be the worst mother in the history of mothers who don't plan but I never scheduled a delivery doctor. And I never planned on exactly which hospital to go to. As I was not on my husband's card, who is Omani, I am not technically able to go to the Royal or SQU hospital so we always planned to show up as an emergancy case with my baby's green card filled out. I knwo they don't turn away emergancies like labour with a valid green card.
The green card is issued by Omani clinics or through packages at private hospitals. One DOES need this little card to be able to deliver at SQU hospital. The dr's need to know you aren't going to bleed to death or have aids before the agree to deliver your baby. The green card legally proves your health status.
I was admitted with no issues even though it was unclear if I would or the government pay for the procedures. I was praying c-sections wouldn't be needed as a non-Omani going government hospital in Oman, the cost is alot more than through private.
The Drs. told me they never want to do a c-section and so did everything they could to avoid one. My first nurse ( I was in labour for two days) was South African Canadian and she was a little tough but listened to me when I was tough back. I didn't want any pain meds, through I was educated about my various options while I was there. I have to say, I took just the gas they give you for the first 24 hours and it worked fine.
My labour was slow to induce so they had to induce it. I have another nurse at that point who I really liked, despite the fact that I swore at her, kicked her in the face, and called her useless pretty much for 12 hours straight.
The Omani doctor was great. She resisted my please for a c-section despite the fact that I attemped to take the IV out of my arm and crawl into the hallway in search of a knife to cut my own baby out. I called her many wretched names, and she was still calm and smiling, and telling me the right things to do.
She let me have a needle for pain when it was confirmed that my baby was strong enough even though it was late in the game for that. Alahmdulilah my baby was a fighter, because usually pain meds at that point effect a baby's heart. After two days in that state I was exhausted so it gave me a rest.
When it came to the pushing they did have to make a small cut but I didn't feel it at all. The baby was delivered fast at that point and they stitched down there fast and I was pretty much out of it but they let me eat.
I was cleaned up and taken to after op care and I only stayed a day before going home. the doctors and nurses were very good at helping me feed and teaching me to wash my baby girl, although she absolutely did struggle with eating.
I have to rate SQUH as the best, because all my friends have worse stories than me from any other hospital. I am a nasty mean patient, and staff were all great and efficient, respectful but firm when I was crazy.
The only point that was rated bad was by friends who assisted in the delivery room (the South African nurse elbowed her out of the way and she didn't like it).

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