MINISTER of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson might have ordered a probe into complaints of misconduct by members of staff at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in West Kingston, but the howls of verbal protests by women who say that they were mistreated, continue.
Yesterday, two women gave gripping accounts of what they said was treatment meted out to them by doctors, nurses, midwives, and nursing assistants at the maternity institution, and directed the Jamaica Observer to other women who were willing to speak out against what they called atrocities, some of whom, they said would be willing to disclose their names.
The two, in venting their anger, asked that their identities be kept secret, as they had not ruled out having more children at the VJH, due to their inability to afford private delivery should they become pregnant again, although it was something that they did not want to do.
“I really would not want to go back to that hell house,” one woman said.
“I have had three bad experiences at Jubilee and three is enough. I lost the first child, due to the negligence of the people at the hospital; I went there after that to do surgery for a pregnancy that went bad, and on the third occasion when I had my child late last year, the people treated me so bad that I believed that my baby would end up dead,” the 27-year-old said.
The other woman, aged 21, related a worrisome tale to the Observer, many of the details of which cannot be published by this newspaper.
“You would never believe that they could treat pregnant mothers like hogs down at that place,” she said in reference to the English-speaking Caribbean’s largest maternity institution.
She said that the first time she went to the VJH to deliver her baby, she met upon some of the medical personnel whom she described as “the worst kind”.
“First of alI, when I was feeling labour pain, I was told to go to the delivery room by myself, and in the pain that I was feeling, I forgot to take my receiver, nightie and pampers.
“The midwife promptly sent me back for the items, shouting at me for forgetting them.
“One nurse who saw that I was in pain offered to get the items for me, after she asked me what number bed I was using, but the midwife said to her ‘no, mek she go back fi them’, and I had to go all the way back, while feeling terrible pain.
“During the process, that same midwife kept roughing me up and telling me to push out the baby. I told her that I was pushing all I could, but that it was very hot. She then said to me ‘you never know say it did hot when you a f…'”
The other woman also said that she lost a foetus and went to the VJH to do surgery to remove the remnants. There, in the midst of complaining about feeling pain during the surgery, the medical personnel conducting the procedure ended it abruptly, pushed her back onto the ward and in a matter of two days she was discharged.
She said that she had to go to a private doctor, who did the surgery all over again and told her that had she waited another day, she would have died.
“When I was there for my surgery they offered to put a young girl who had lost a baby on contraceptive, but she told them that she would seek her mother’s opinion on the matter first, and they seemed so upset that the doctor who was heading the team said ‘half a dose fi her’.
“When the young girl was doing the surgery you could hear her screaming for help from far away. When she came back in, she was in shock and they had to tie her down on the bed. Another patient intervened and asked how they could rough up the girl so and they cussed her and said it was none of her business. Shortly after that, the girl’s mother came in and ended up in an argument with the staff for tying down her daughter,” the woman said.
Another incident related by the older woman led to her shedding tears.
“When I went to the delivery room to have my baby, I was screaming for pain. The midwife said to me ‘wha you a bawl out for, if you no stop crying for pain me ago leave’, and she left … she walked away. I told her the baby was coming out, and she was saying ‘well if it is coming push it out’, standing across the room from me.
“Other nurses came in, but they were dealing with more than one deliveries. I was pushing and the baby was not coming out, the midwife was slapping me and saying ‘why are you stopping, don’t stop pushing until I tell you to, and ‘if you don’t push, the baby will die, and it will be your fault’.
“The midwife was slapping me hard on my leg and saying ‘push out di pickney nuh gal’, but there was one nurse in the group that was sympathetic. It was a real struggle with that midwife until the baby came, and even after that, the verbal abuse continued,” said the woman who also claimed that she was told by the midwife that ‘this baby thing don’t cut out fi you’.
Stories of pregnant women calling out for help while they were in pain, and the medical staff mocking, jeering and laughing at them, were told by both women.
“One woman when the pain lick her said ‘Jesus’ and the midwife shout out ‘a wa Jesus do you. Shut up’, one related.
Also, a particular midwife, the other woman claimed, would look at patients when they are crying out for pain and tell them to keep quiet, pointing to her watch and saying ‘look at the time, me no go fi lunch yet and oonu a mek so much noise’.
“If I wasnt convinced before, I am now convinced that I would not want to go back to Jubilee for love nor money,” one of the women said.
The other argued that the lack of communication by medical staff, particularly some doctors, whom they claim behave like they are of a higher social class, also adds to the problem.
“Sometimes you just want to say something to a doctor and they don’t even listen to you, they would just walk off and brush you aside,” she stated.
Dr Ferguson could not be reached for a reaction when the Observer telephoned him last night, but a medical practitioner at the VJH, while admitting that some members of staff at times “stepped out of line”, said that his colleagues were often under pressure.
“We work under tough conditions at the hospital, and sometimes we have to put up with some patients who would want to rough us up, but by and large we have a dedicated and committed staff who want to do their best as far as patient care goes,” said the doctor, who also asked not to be named.


  1. Jah know dem story ya hurt me heart. Dem need fi get charged criminally fi dem negligence…how much roughing up could a pregnant woman in pain give them?

  2. I had my child there. I must say i got good service, I went in on a Thursday and was on the delivery ward, i saw lots of women come in & out leaving me there. I can remember a rasta woman come in bawling out how har pussy a tear out and the nurse look in her docket & said to her u have four aready stop u noise u never know seh pickney pain hot before u have the fifth one. she shut up after that. They induce labour on me & a nurse sat by my bedside while i piss the bed because i was too weak to go bathroom, she just give me painkiller and send me to the theater. overall i got good care there.
    Some ppl go there and behave real bad and expect to get good treatment. I saw a girl jus bend over and shit. I was so madd at her

  3. I work with tough deadlines too and under extreme pressure at certain points of the year, and I would be out of a job if I handled clients without courtesy and respect on every interaction. There is absolutely no excuse for such behaviour in a caring institution. NONE!

  4. I have first hand knowledge of this place and In 2009, I did not get through to have my baby at UWI due to late booking and had to book @ Jubilee, and that was d scariest experience of my life, I was in d room where they check to see if u r ready to give birth before sending u to d labour ward & a walk yuh affi walk guh round a di delivery room not even 1 likkle wheel chair), n I witnessed with my own 2 eyes when I went to deliver my baby @ VJH a lady came in and said that the baby was coming, the nurse told her to go and shower she said that she already did so @ home, and the baby was coming right now, the nurse reply to her was “gal mi seh fi guh bathe, who business if yuh bathe a yuh yard?” she muttered something under har breath about “nasty & nuh like bathe”. The lady complied although in excruciating pain, it was apparent that the baby was seconds away,as the lady stepped out of the shower, the baby fell out of her onto the ground, mi did deh a my bedside in pain, a pack up my likkle basin, and d nurse look up at d lady n d baby on d floor and continue what she was doing at her desk (which is nothing), and didnt even got up instantly. I had to leave what I was doing, shocked and flabbergasted figet seh mi did even in pain guh to har rescue, and took up d baby & put her in 1 of my baby receiver wid navel string and all still attached, and helped d mother to d nearest bed, a then yuh see she draw har dead ass, a come bout suh weh yuh a duh so long inna d shower a do? & d lady was in there for like 5 seconds? a true mi blast har seh mi a guh write Observer & Gleaner & tell TVJ & CVM weh dem a gwaan wid dung deh, a cant figet a lady pan d ward name Ms. Chamberlin a she did calm mi dung, and tell mi seh if mi cuss dem dem wi lef mi mek mi have d baby pan mi own, so mi fi just calm dung like how a nuh mi it happen to, a suh yuh see she start show d lady some attention and call d doctor. The baby was admitted to the nursery because of d fall, I dont even know what was the outcome or what injuries the baby suffered, but she did say she was from cayman, and had visited the island briefly, she didn’t plan to have d baby here, but d baby came prematurely, and she never had anything for the baby, I gave her clothes and stuff, but I never got the chance to take her # or name, but she is out there somewhere, dont know if she filed charges against the hospital or anything, but one thing I can say that nurse was downright cold, heartless and wicked! U have some really nice nurses @ VJH, everywhere yuh guh yuh have d good apples and d bad ones in d bunch, but mi nuh know if a d stress of delivery and d screaming get to dem, but it come in like once dem guh pan delivery ward dem get cold as ice. My experience @ UWI 2005 was d best, first class service, my advice to any expectant mother is to let ur baby daddy fork out d $40,000 or whatever it is now to have baby up there it is worth ur time and money, if yuh dont want to experience hell, take mi advise and do it, a nuh everything cheap or free good!!!!! that nurse could not be a mother, and some of those midwives have no children so they have never experience the pain of childbirth. I have heard them tell mother some really hurtful things when they cry out for help, if dem nuh tek c$#@%bigger than that, but they have never get smart with me, than Jesus for that, because God see and know all d after birth a wld an tell dem fi nyam, so nobody wld an never look pan me. Thank God for Jesus, dah duppy deh never try frighten mi!!! I wanted to be a nurse, and led to a different career path, but when I saw how that nurse handled that woman in a very vulnerable time as giving birth, I regret that I didnt followed my heart.

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