This is a story I do not like to tell. I want to believe that all the malnourished children we see are like that because there families cannot find food to feed them. Just that simple, right? I do not want to belive that it is due to straight neglect. But every once in a while we have someone come in like little Djounka below. This makes the third time she has visited the clinic. Each time she came we talked to her mother about her daughter. We spent time with her and even gave her food to feed her. Each time the mother laughed at the nurses and said it was not her fault. She did not want her body to become “ugly” if she breastfed her daughter. Today she brought Djounka into the clinic. She was given a special ticket to pass immediately. We do this with very sick kids that need to pass right away. The nurse called me and asked me to please admit her in the RC right away. I agreed and went to start the paper work for her to be admitted. The first thing I do when admitting a child is to get a picture for our records. When I took Djounka to get her picture she was in the end stages of dying. She was struggling to breath and was in bad shape. I called Lori right away to come and see if there was something she could do. I knew there was not, but we always try. If they are still breathing we try.
We started a IV right away and did what we could but she died within a few minutes. Her mother stood there the whole time and either laughed or just looked at her. It was strange. We sat with her until she took her last breath and then removed the IV. There was nothing from the mother no reaction nothing. I said your child is dead –thinking okay maybe she does not realize that she is dead and still nothing. She just wanted to leave and go back home. Her daughter died from straight neglect. Nothing more. Many, many people who were in the clinic were very upset with her. Everyone told me not to let her leave. They asked me to call her family. She said she could not remember anyone’s phone number. So someone who lived by her called a family member and told them what had happened. Her family said that they told her that morning that she was going to die and the mother did not want to bring her. So they gave her money to pay the taxi fee to get here.
She died a neglected child 10 pounds 13 pounds old. For no reason at all.