Makeshift midwife

Makeshift midwife

Fractures, bruises and cuts.

These were the types of injuries she was prepared to treat when she volunteered to help earthquake victims in the Philippines last month.

Not to help deliver a baby.

But that's exactly what Dr Meera Ravindran, 26, did when a heavily pregnant woman arrived at the makeshift hospital on a motorcycle and told medical staff there that she was about to give birth.

On Oct 15, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake devastated the town of Loon, Bohol, killing 222 people and injuring about 800.

Since then, the Singapore Red Cross Society (SRC) has sent three teams - including Dr Meera, a medical officer with the Singapore General Hospital's department of renal medicine - to provide medical aid in Bohol.

Dr Meera said: "My mother was worried about the trip as there could have been aftershocks in the area. But in the end, she was very supportive of me as she knew it was something I wanted to do."

Dr Meera, a first-time volunteer with the SRC, left for Loon on Oct 31 and was to be stationed for a week at the temporary tentage of Congressman Natalio P. Castillo Memorial Hospital there.

She had been mostly treating adults with coughs and colds until the pregnant woman arrived on Nov 5 at the temporary tentage, which was set up after the hospital was destroyed by the quake.

The woman had travelled for an hour over bumpy, damaged roads, riding pillion on her husband's motorcycle.

Dr Meera arrived at the hospital a day after the woman was admitted.

The petite woman who was about 1.5m tall looked composed despite her labour pains and she did not scream at all, said Dr Meera.

"The most she did was grimace. She even transferred herself to the bed after her husband dropped her off and headed to work," she said.

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