Beirut: A Syrian refugee, who is suspected to be infected by the coronavirus, became the first pregnant woman to deliver a baby in the Rafik Hariri University Hospital’s COVID-19 emergency department in Lebanon.
Lebanese obstetrician and gynecologist Dr Rabih Chahine led a team of doctors from the RHUH Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics in performing a caesarean section at the special coronavirus ER ward in cooperation with medical and nursing staff from the coronavirus department on Sunday.
“The mother and the newborn are safe and sound and remain in the quarantine zone. When the pregnant woman, who is a Syrian refugee, was brought to RHUH, as per the medical protocol, she was examined and it was noticed that she was showing symptoms consistent with the coronavirus like coughing, phlegm and shortness of breath but she didn’t have fever. She was immediately admitted to the corona zone. All our medical team is well prepared and equipped to operate on such cases. We made sure to wear all protective ensembles and glasses to prevent infection … it was her ninth-month and she was going into labour. We prepared her well and carried the C-section,” Dr Chahine told Gulf News on Monday.
The newborn boy is healthy and does not show any symptoms consistent with coronavirus so far, according to Dr Chahine.
In a media statement, RHUH’s management confirmed that this was the first practical application of the protocol in the hospital.
Dr Chahine said the new protocol was established in anticipation of pregnant women suspected of being infected by coronavirus.
He said his female intern assisted him during the operation along with the usual medical staff of such operations.
When asked if he was her gynecologist or she was his first-time patient, Dr Chahine clarified that she was being followed up by the clinics of Médecins sans Frontières.
“The mother is in her 20s and this is her third child … she had had two C-section operations previously. This is the first baby to be born in coronavirus ER zone in Lebanon. Other hospitals need to gear themselves up like RHUH and be prepared for such operations. It was a very positive experience for me,” he said.
According to RHUH’s statement, the baby was put in the “incubator” device next to his mother. They were both placed in the isolation room and subjected to scheduled medical examinations.
The mother’s test results are yet to come out yet if she tests positive, in which case the baby might be at a higher risk. The mother could not be reached for comment.