Mubârakah Maternity Hospital is the largest and busiest centre in the city of Humayrah. Its twenty-five-bed labour and delivery suite records up to 1500 births every month. I came all the way from Khulays and chose to have my internship in this hospital so as to get more exposure in women’s health. I love everything about this hospital. The doctors are dedicated to their work and the midwives are extremely friendly. The patients represent the diversity of the metropolis.

Everything was nice and smooth until last week…

Jameelah, a 30 year old mother of five, had just been shifted from the labour room to the postnatal ward. The Indian woman was delivered of a baby boy weighing 2.9kg, looking pink and healthy. Jameelah was exhausted, obviously. She had a heavy breakfast and soon fell into a deep sleep.

It was exactly 1:45pm. The morning nurses had just finished handing over to the afternoon shift when the central announcement system went up…

“Attention, code pink! Room 304, Labour and delivery!”
“Attention, code pink! Room 304, Labour and delivery!”
“Attention, code pink! Room 304, Labour and delivery!”

The deep male voice enveloped the entire hospital while I was having my lunch at the basement. I dropped my spoon immediately and my heart almost skipped a beat.
“What’s that?”, asked Salmah, a fellow intern who only resumed that morning.
“SubhaanaLlaah! A newborn baby has been abducted from the ward”, I responded with a trembling voice.

The hospital has a tight security system. Every patient wears a wrist band which has a tiny sensor, electronically linked to the access doors and elevators. For newborns, their wristbands are also linked to their mothers’, such that when they are separated by more than a particular preset distance, the alarm goes off.

Jameelah was awakened by the alarm on her wristband. She checked the bassinet and found that her baby was missing. She immediately pushed the ‘red alert’ button by the side wall and the nurse on duty understood the message right away. The nurse called the security guard, and the chain of command continued swiftly until the hospital was plunged into a state of complete locked down.

The security guards were positioned in front of the main doors and elevators. Nothing would open except with the master keys held by the guard team leaders. They started opening the doors one after the other, checking everyone who had been trapped in the preceeding five minutes.

A middle-aged Asian woman, alighted from the emergency elevator, carrying a big lunch basket. She looked edgy and tried to avoid the security check.
“Don’t you have female guards?”, she demanded.
A female guard came forward and asked her to drop her basket on a table to be searched by another female guard. She refused to drop the basket and told them that she was running late for an important appointment.

As the voices got louder, a strange sound was heard, apparently coming from the basket. The female guard signaled a male guard who stepped in and snatched the basket from the woman. He opened the basket and found a baby swaddled in banana leaves. The wristband had been destroyed by the woman, perhaps as soon as she had heard the alarm, but the name of the baby was still readable – “Baby Jameelah Khan”.

The criminal was handed over to the police while the baby was returned to his mother after what felt like an eternity of emotional distress. Further investigations revealed that the woman had claimed to be Jameelah’s elder sister. Her basket was searched before she entered the ward, but somehow, nobody knew when she left.

The entire labour room staff on duty that afternoon, including myself, are to appear before a panel of investigators next week. Although, I know that I have done nothing wrong, I hate that my name will be appearing in the investigation. I can’t wait to finish my posting here and go back to Khulays.



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