‘My hand is missing,’ says postpartum amputee in RJ

The woman who had her hand and wrist amputated after giving birth at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro says the routine has been very difficult for the past three months. Until now, Gleice Kelly Gomes, 24, has been looking for answers to understand what happened at the Hospital da Mulher Intermédica de Jacarepaguá, in the west of the city. Tomorrow you say that you must participate in a meeting with the company’s mediator, who would have promised you explanations.

I miss my hand. In just three months, everything is completely different. I’ve been reborn, I’ve reset my life, I have to adapt to do everything and there’s nothing that can bring my hand back.
Gleice Kelly, cashier

The victim was admitted to the Hospital da Mulher Intermédica de Jacarepaguá, in the west zone of Rio de Janeiro, on October 9, 2022, when she was 39 weeks pregnant. As soon as the baby was born, on the 10th, in a normal delivery, the medical team identified a serious bleeding in the patient, which needed to be treated.

It was then that an access to the vein was made to administer the drug, but the patient was already unconscious. In less than 12 hours, Gleice’s arm started showing complications. First he turned red, then he started swelling really fast and then he started turning purple. The pain and discomfort were reported to the medical team, but nothing was done immediately.

The woman was accompanied by her husband and mother, who learned that the attack had been in the same arm for a long time and was therefore swelling. “Only when the fingers were already purplish did they remove the access to the left arm, put it on the neck and right arm,” said the patient. While Gleice’s arm caused concern in the family, the medical team were concerned about the bleeding that needed to be treated and the transfer to hospital that needed to be made, as Intermédica Women’s Hospital did not have intensive care.

Four days after being transferred to hospital in São Gonçalo, Gleice’s husband received a phone call that he would need to have his hand and wrist amputated:

“They called saying they had to amputate my wife’s forearm, because there was no other way; she could lose her life or all of her arm. , said civil construction professional Marcio de Oliveira Barbosa, 29.

“What I miss the most is my independence”

A mother of two boys, ages 8 and 4, Gleice hasn’t planned for her third child, who is now three months old. Her mother’s routine would not be foreign to her, were it not for the new reality, which requires adaptation to her.

The woman had her hand amputated after entering the hospital to give birth to her child

Image: personal archive

To work, she left the children to her mother-in-law who, working from home, always helped take care of the children. Gleice gave the children breakfast and a bath and went to work on public transport. Household chores, preparing meals and changing diapers had always been done by her, until then.

I can’t give my baby a bath because he doesn’t have a firm spine yet, he’s only three months old, he can’t sit up. There is no way to bathe with one hand and soap with the other because I have none left [a mão]. It’s a sad and sacrificing routine for me and I can’t even show pain because my 8 year old already understands things and I don’t want to let him know that having a brother to him has brought me sadness. Also because the only positive thing was the birth of Levi.

The postpartum period for the third child proved to be very different from the other two, as in addition to the amputation she was in a different hospital from that of the newborn.

“I’ve always done everything, I’ve always breastfed. My second child was breastfed for six months without the need for supplements. Now, with Levi, I couldn’t breastfeed, I couldn’t see. I only saw my son when he was born and I was transferred shortly after. And that’s all. I saw it because I asked them to take me to him. After I was transferred, they amputated my hand, I stayed about thirteen days away from my son, in another hospital. So this is all very new to me,” said Gleice.

In addition to motherhood, the victim also encounters difficulties with female problems, which used to be solved in a very simple way, such as fixing her hair:

“What I miss the most is my independence. I’ve always gone around with a bun in my hair, now tying my hair up is a sacrifice. To make a ponytail I have to ask for help. If I go out on the street and my pin it loosens, it will be difficult to get my hair back. I miss my hand. In just three months everything is completely different. I was reborn, I reset my life, I have to adapt to do everything and there is nothing that will bring my hand back “, he complains.

The victim has to face his own problems and those of his children. The eldest, for example, had difficulty dealing with his situation and talking about it, even at school.

“Near that arm that I lost, he doesn’t get very close, he can’t be touched. He was withdrawn from the hospital, he had difficulties at school, he cried, he was distant, he couldn’t go, it was very complicated. When I was discharged, the I showed that what happened has nothing to do with the birth of the brother, I’m giving all the support,” he recalls.

Since returning home, Gleice has received a chain of support from family. Her husband, mother-in-law, mother and siblings take turns helping with the housework, taking care of the children and going out when they need to sort something out on the road.

Next steps

For five years and five months, Gleice has been working in a large supermarket chain as a cashier, her first job. On maternity leave, she is already thinking about returning, but now she doesn’t know what role she will have:

“Now my routine has been very difficult. I don’t know if I will go back to work, how it will be, because I use both hands to withdraw cash, some procedures, to be more agile. There is no way to count money quickly with just one hand. I can’t waste much time changing cashiers because the supermarket is always full, they have everything. I can’t do my job anymore”.

“I received a call from the mediator saying that she was very sorry about what happened and that she is only now learning of the facts as the council is in São Paulo and the case has taken on a very large proportion. Gleice really needs to assistance, but we will continue in this fight until we find out who was responsible for it,” said the patient’s advocate, Monalisa Gagno.

TO UOLThe hospital sent a note saying it is providing full support and investigating what happened to the patient.

“The Hospital Company declares its full solidarity with the victim and deeply regrets what happened. He reiterates his commitment to investigate seriously, transparently and carefully the medical-hospital procedures adopted during his treatment. Medical Ethics Committee to coordinate these works.

Glaice’s case is now also a police investigation. In a note, the Civil Police say the 41st DP, Tanque, registered it as culpable bodily harm. “Witnesses were heard and medical documents were requested to help clarify the case,” the institution said.

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