A Matter of Minutes

Little baby Etienna lies peacefully in bed, swaddled in a warm blanket with her mother Clerna by her side. Clerna’s residual look of exhaustion from the night before is quickly replaced by a proud smile as Baby Etienna grips her fingers. Taking in the scene, it’s hard to believe that a matter of minutes made the difference in Clerna being alive today.

I knew I was in danger of death. I am still surprised to be alive at this moment.


Clerna’s Journey

Clerna arrived at SBH from Fonds des Negres—a 1.5+ hour drive on a moto (motorcycle) over bumpy roads.

“I had unusual pain in the morning and decided to come to the hospital,” recalls Clerna. “I knew a moto would be very uncomfortable in my condition, but I took one because I was in too much pain to wait for a car.”

Thankfully, she did not wait. Had she, she would have still been on the road when serious complications hit.

Upon arrival at the hospital at 9:20 am, Clerna was wheeled to the maternity center. Within minutes, she went into active labor and gave birth to a healthy Etienna. But soon after, Clerna began to creep towards unconsciousness from heavy blood loss. The midwife on duty quickly called in Dr. Guerrier, director of the Maternal and Neonatal Health Center, and Clerna was rushed to the OR. Clerna was hemorrhaging. Dr. Guerrier and his team immediately connected her to liquids to prevent her body from losing too much fluid. They then began to do all they could to sustain Clerna’s life and stop the bleeding.

A Team Effort

“Postpartum hemorrhage cases are very serious and you need all hands on deck,” says Dr. Guerrier. Additional hospital staff were called in to help Dr. Guerrier and his team. “From providing the patient with medication and oxygen to lifting and holding the patient in place on the stretcher, to the nurses who assisted me, everyone from the surgeon to the security played key roles in our success saving Clerna.”

Baby Etienna is Clerna’s third child, but her first to be delivered at a hospital.

I didn’t know the hospital at first but every day I heard good things about it. I decided to come here for prenatal care and knew then that I wanted to deliver at St. Boniface Hospital. Now, I am only alive thanks to God and the team here at the hospital.


”The new maternity center and staffing significantly increases the team’s capacity to treat cases similar to Mrs. Baptiste’s,” says Dr. Guerrier. “We are better equipped to deal with emergency cases and can take care of more than one very ill patient at a time. I am so grateful to all our partners and supporters who made the Maternal and Neonatal Health Center a reality and continue to support the care of mothers and babies here. Thank you.”