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Jakarta Post

Pregnant woman loses baby as rapid test reportedly delays labor care

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, August 21, 2020   /   06:34 pm
Pregnant woman loses baby as rapid test reportedly delays labor care Illustration photo of a patient on a hospital bed (Shutterstock/anek.soowannaphoom)

Gusti Ayu Arianti, a resident of Pejanggik subdistrict in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, was forced to accept the reality that her baby had died in her womb on Tuesday, which her family say happened because she was late to receive help while in labor because of the COVID-19 test requirement.

On Tuesday morning, after her water had broken, the 23-year-old went to the Wira Bhakti Mataram Army Hospital (RSAD) and requested that the medical team immediately handle her. However, she was asked to first take a COVID-19 rapid test.

“My water had broken, I had lost a lot of blood since I was at home, but I was not immediately treated,” Gusti said on Wednesday as quoted by

Gusti said the RSAD did not provide a rapid test service and thus she was asked to go to a community health center (Puskesmas) to take one.

She said she was disappointed, because she had not been informed about the rapid test requirement during her prebirth pregnancy examinations.

Gusti then returned home to change her sanitary napkins and headed for the Pagesangan Puskesmas with her husband and her mother for a rapid test.

Read also: Experts disapprove of govt's COVID-19 handling, survey says

Arriving at the Puskesmas, Gusti entered the delivery room but was not immediately checked. She was even asked to join the lineup of test takers before her husband complained and she was allowed to proceed immediately.

As she was waiting for the rapid test result, which would come out in 30 minutes, Gusti asked the doctor in the delivery room to check her womb, but the doctor asked her to wait for the test result.

Gusti returned home to change sanitary napkins, while her mother waited for the test result at the Puskesmas. She said the family asked for a referral letter to the Mataram RSAD, but the Puskesmas refused as she had returned home.

With the COVID-19 test result in hand, the family took Gusti to Permata Hati Hospital instead. However, the hospital did not acknowledge her test certificate as it did not attach the test kit. Gusti took another test.

Finally, the medical team at Permata Hati Hospital examined Gusti’s womb. Initially, Gusti said, the doctor said that the unborn baby's heart rate was weak, but it slowly went back to normal.

Gusti underwent a C-section. Unfortunately, the baby boy, who was to be named I Made Arsya Prasetya Jaya, was declared deceased.

The doctor claimed the baby had died in the womb a few days earlier, which the family denied.

“If he died seven days ago, it would be dangerous for the mother, and there would be some putrefaction. But the [body] did not stink at all and looked fresh. The doctor’s diagnosis is questionable,” said Gusti’s father, Ketut Mahajaya.

Read also: 'All 20 people tested positive': Journalist shares her family's struggles with COVID-19

Wira Bhakti Mataram RSAD head Yudi Akbar Manurung confirmed that Gusti had visited the hospital but claimed Gusti had not taken a rapid test at the hospital because the test was not free of charge.

“Our officers explained to her that she is a public patient, so the rapid test is not free, unless [taken] at the Puskesmas or the Mataram Regional General Hospital. We told her that, and she finally went to the Puskesmas,” Yudi said on Thursday.

West Nusa Tenggara Health Agency head Eka Nurhandini said that a rapid test was mandatory for pregnant women about to give birth in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Based on a circular from the COVID-19 task force, mothers who are going to give birth must do a rapid test, because pregnant women are susceptible to infection,” Eka said.

She said the rapid test would determine how the medical workers handled mothers when giving birth.

“If [the test shows] a reactive result, the mother will be taken to an isolation room and the medical team will use personal protective equipment,” she added. (syk)