Friday, April 15, 2005
Hospitals are strange places.
On the 1st floor of national healthcare (IMSS) clinic no.45, a large pair of hands cradles a tiny head less than two minutes after the initial C-section incision. Another pair, a woman's this time, cuts the umbilical cord and proffers the infant to another pair of hands that aspirate the nose and mouth, and then at the welcome resulting high-pitched cries, pass the parcel along to the head pediatrician who examines the tiny human and makes annotations with the precision and detachment of a worker in an assembly line.
Fifteen minutes later the mother sits chatting on her bed with other waiting mothers to be, and four minutes after that another pair of newborn eyes, a natural birth this time, shut themselves in protest at the bright surgical room halogen lights that signal the incipience of life.
In Mexican state hopsitals, this process repeats itself, over and over with periodicity of about one hour and ten minutes, and the thousands of births witnessed by the head pediatrician over the past 10 years of service must by now seem routine and......boring, even.
Two floors below, in the emergency and intensive therapy rooms, death too, is equally mundane and quotidian.