DISCLAIMER: We want to address some of the concerns from the local community about this series we have been doing on c-section complications. It started out with a mother, still in her hospital gown, wanting to get her story heard. As a result more mothers have reached out to us with similar stories. We have chosen to publish their stories. But we also want the community to know that we chose to do this because we believe these mothers’ voices deserve to be heard. We are not attempting to discredit doctors or attack the medical community. In fact, we have reached out to some doctors not involved in any of these cases and we are hoping that they will agree to sit down with us to give us a more comprehensive account of risks and complications with any kind of surgery, hoping this will allay fears or concerns within the community. We are not medical professionals, but as responsible citizens, we believe that If you have a medical emergency or concerns about your health, your doctors, our doctors, our hospitals and clinics, are still the best places to go to seek treatment. That should go without saying. These stories are not meant to deter you from seeking the medical help you need.
Guam – A third mother has came forward wanting to share her experience during her c-section four years ago. Her bowel was also cut during her delivery.
Nichol Flores was delivering her third child in February 2014; her first baby girl. She was scheduled for a c-section at the Guam Memorial Hospital. Baby girl AyaniJade was born healthy. It should have been a moment of joy and a time for happiness for Nichol and her family. But, like Alissa Nededog and April Guerrero, this is the point when all the horror began.
“After the recovery I went to my room feeling sick and the nurses were like, ‘Oh, it’s the medication, give it time,'” shares Nichol. “I was falling over. I was shaking and as I’m sitting right now it looks like I was taking a shower, I was profusely–I was literally just sitting down and I’m like sweating.”
Three days later, instead of graduating to urinating, passing gas or walking, Nichol was still weak and in severe pain.
“The cleaning person, every morning they come in and they mop the floor and I could smell it from afar and it was a burning sensation to my stomach like sharp pains. It’s like blades cutting through me, that feeling, and I curled up screaming. It’s like something’s wrong,” she recalls.
Doctors then ordered daily X-rays for Nichol and finally after several X-rays, a CT scan. After eight days at the hospital, Nichol began to vomit a dark-colored substance.
“Everything was coming out of me toxic. It was like black, brownish black. And then I started like leaking a lot of water from my eyes and liquid coming out of my ears,” says Nichol.
“Then the results came in when they were gonna roll me in for, what, the fifth or sixth day for X-rays. The doctor comes running down and says, ‘You don’t need to go in there,’ and he’s huffing and puffing and he says, ‘We have the results, we know what’s wrong with you. First of all, I’m sorry for what’s going on and all these things you’re going through but we don’t know how much time you have left,” recalls Nichol, adding that this added another layer of fear of death.
Nichol immediately went into emergency surgery. The purpose? To repair her small intestine that doctors discovered had been accidentally cut.
“He says that my small intestine was cut,” notes Nichol.
Because of this, toxic waste was leaking into her body.
PNC: “Did the doctor acknowledge that he made that mistake?”
“Yes he did and I wish I would’ve recorded him but I wasn’t in the right state,” Nichol tells us.
Through this whole experience, Nichol says she lost nearly 200 pounds in a matter of a weeks.
“My kids, I didn’t–my son didn’t recognize me. My husband has pictures of me in the wheelchair and he asked his dad, who am I because I was that sick,” remembers Nichol.
But that wasn’t the end of it for Nichol. After being released from GMH a few weeks later, she continued to feel pain. She consulted with another physician who found a problem with her tubes which had also been tied during her c-section. She was referred off-island where doctors later discovered that her tubes were tied wrong, she tells us.
All of this was happening within the first year of her daughter’s life; in and out of clinics and hospitals and unable to raise her newborn or her two other boys because the focus had always been on her health.
“I practically missed out on her first year,” says Nichol, referring to her youngest child, AyaniJade. “I never got to enjoy caring for her.”
Nichol sought legal advice but because she was unable to find an attorney willing to take her case pro bono, like April Guerrero, she stopped pursuing it. However, she says she still wants to move forward with litigation if she can find the right attorney.
The pain, the agony, the depression, the fear, all eventually caused Nichol to question everything. She closed up and turned off social media. But then she heard about Alissa Nededog’s story last week.
“I turned it [back] on because of her, because I feel for her. And my family’s like you know you need to tell your story. It may not be the same doctor but these doctors need to be assessed,” says Nichol.
Nichol says in the last four years of her fight, she came across other mothers who have had similar experiences from 15 years ago but were too fearful to speak up.
“I got upset. I got upset. I said how come you didn’t say anything they said they didn’t have the guts to do it. There’s other personal issues behind it but I said because of what happened to you, look what happened to me. It could’ve ben prevented,” she says.