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Mum ‘knows’ baby still alive

Maria Bradshaw

Mum ‘knows’ baby still alive

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The parents of a baby born 23 years ago believe their child is still alive even though they were told by nurses that the baby had died.

Jennifer and Pearson Bishop said they had not been able to receive any clear answers from authorities at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital about the death, and furthermore they were given a baby boy to bury while Jennifer is sure she gave birth to a girl.

The baby was delivered on November 5, 1991, the second day of the two-day national shutdown caused by a general strike against the austerity measures imposed by the then government.

The hospital was said to be dealing with emergency cases only at the time.

Jennifer revealed that the situation had haunted her since then and she was publicly coming forward now to tell her story in the hope that the child if alive, would see it.

The 58-year-old retired school meals worker, who has two other children, explained that Dr Rotchell (now deceased) was her obstetrician, but on the day she went into labour the doctor was out of the island and another doctor was appointed to do a caesarean delivery.

Her husband explained that he was waiting outside the delivery room when a nurse came to him and told him that the baby had been delivered and to go home and bring diapers for the baby.

“I hurried home,” he said. “It took me only ten minutes and when I returned the nurse gave me a gown to put on, took me to a room and told me that the baby had died. I said ‘what?’ She pulled open a drawer and showed me a baby wrapped up in paper and it was a boy. She told me that I would have to get an undertaker to bury the baby.”

His wife, on the other hand, recalled that when she became conscious she found a baby lying in a crib next to her bed.

“It was a beautiful baby girl and I asked the nurse if that was my baby and she told me ‘yes’ and to rest myself so I went back to sleep.”

When she got up again, the baby was gone.

“The nurse came and told me that she had bad news for me. I said ‘what bad news’, and she paused and told me I didn’t have a baby, that it had died.”

Jennifer said she was in shock.

She spent the next six days in the hospital in a state of confusion but no one would tell her what caused the baby to die.

“That was my third pregnancy and all of my children were delivered by caesarean section. I never had any problems during my pregnancy. I work until the day that I had to deliver,” she cried, as she pointed out that she also has an ultrasound which showed she was carrying a girl.

In addition, she said when she visited the hospital for her six-week check-up she was confronted by two puzzling events.

“The same nurse that went surgery with me, who was with me from the time I came in and get ready me for surgery, ask me ‘how the baby?’”

“I said nurse, ‘what baby. Y’all tell me that my baby died.’ She looked at me in shock and walked away crying.

“My husband was angry now so we went to see Dr Rotchell to ask about the baby dying. She looked at my files and said there is nothing here to show any signs of sickness. She said I don’t know what is wrong but these things do happen.”

Jennifer also recalled that several weeks after she kept enquiring about the baby’s body they were contacted by a funeral home and given a baby boy to bury.

She confided in a friend who was a doctor asking him to check out what was going on.

“He called me and told me there was nothing, that the hospital did not have any files indicating that I gave birth to a baby,” she cried.

She also had an interview with officials at the QEH to discuss the matter.

Jennifer recalled that then hospital director Neville Millington [now deceased] was at the meeting, along with other senior officials at the hospital.

“Mr Millington asked me if I believe that people selling babies I tell him ‘yes’,” she related, adding that she left the meeting with no closure to the situation.

To add to her confusion, Jennifer said some years ago she received a haunting telephone call.

“I was home here a day and the phone ring and this young lady was on the phone saying I looking for Jennifer Sealy [her maiden name] my mother. . . .  That thing send something in me. I said ‘Oh God, my daughter like she looking for me’. I told her to describe this woman who she looking for and she said it is not you and hang up.”

After all these years she has finally decided to tell her story.

“I want the world to know that baby ain’t dead. Whether she come to me or not, I know. You does know when something from you missing. You know how many attempts I made over the years to come out publicly. I know this child will get big and it will start asking for its real mother because they does know. I have always told my sons that one day their sister will come home.”

When contacted, Dexter James, the chief executive officer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said he could not release patient information.

“We can’t get involved in personal client information. If the lady has a concern she has a recourse and there are ways she could go ahead with that recourse. That is as much as I can say about it.”