Reference : V-P-SS-E-00818
Date : 05/05/2016
Country/Region : SOUTH SUDAN
Caption : Maiwut, hospital supported by the ICRC. Nyaduel, a patient who lost her unborn baby after suffering a gunshot wound to abdomen, rests in a bed.
Photographer : GONZALEZ FARRAN, Albert
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : It was still dark, around 5 a.m., when the gunfire began, Nyaduel recounted. Nyaduel’s four children quickly ran away, but the pregnant woman and her elderly mother couldn’t outrun the attack. She estimates she and her mother stumbled forward for 30 minutes before the gunmen’s bullets found them. Both were shot in the back.
“I was afraid that we were all going to die. I couldn’t see the attackers but I know they are not our people,” Nyaduel said from the hospital, where she lay on bright pink sheets. “They want to kill us first and then they get our cattle and then our children. My husband was shot twice.”
The bullet entered Nyaduel’s lower left back and came out the front, on the left side of her pregnant belly. Intestines poured out. Her mother, shot in the left shoulder, lay wounded nearby. But they couldn’t talk or comfort each other, lest they draw the attention of the gunmen.
One hundred and twenty minutes they lay there. Two hours of pain and misery. More than enough time for Nyaduel to become convinced that she would die. But the gunmen finally left, and other villagers arrived and organized a way for Nyaduel to travel the 100 kilometers to Maiwut.
“She was the most serious case we had,” Igor, the trauma surgeon, said. Only 30 minutes after her arrival at Maiwut Hospital she was on the operating table. It was 7:00 p.m., 14 hours after the first gunfire. This bare-bones hospital has no ultrasound machine to help determine if the baby were still alive, and anyway there was no time. Igor entered surgery not knowing if a baby would be born.
The pre-surgery survey “should be professional, without emotion, because it will create big problems for you and the team,” Igor said. “You cannot be cynical but you need balance. You cannot give up but you also can’t say this is horrible and, oh, this poor child.” Igor performed a C-section, but the child was dead. He then cut away 30 centimeters of Nyaduel’s intestine. The surgery was over in 90 minutes. “Unfortunately she lost the baby but she was extremely lucky. The bullet came through the whole abdomen but the uterus was still okay. She was extremely lucky because she survived.”
Nyaduel says she feels the same way. She remains the mother of four children.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 5760x3840
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour