Court told how Sharon Otieno’s baby died

Sharon's parents Melida Auma and Douglas Otieno during her burial at Magare village in Homa bay county on October 19, 2018. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

The late Sharon Otieno’s father Douglas Otieno wept as he listened to an obstetrician testify on what caused his grandchild’s death. As he listened, the hard truth came out in pictures.

Dr Simon Wanjala shared images of Sharon’s baby on a 75-inch television in court. His conclusion was that the cause of death was blood loss in the womb.

Douglas occasionally reached for the handkerchief in his pocket, wiping away the sorrow of losing his daughter and his grandchild named ‘baby Sharon’.

Dr Wanjala, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Nairobi Hospital, told the trial court that pictures shown to him indicated the baby was pale.

In his testimony before Justice Cecilia Githua, the doctor said the unborn baby would have survived if there was an intervention within four minutes of the mother’s death.

The doctor narrated that Sharon’s baby was at least 28 weeks at the time of her death.

The baby died in the womb.

“We can project from the ultrasound scans performed on Sharon that by the time this occurred, the baby was around 28 and 29 weeks.”

Dr Wanjala says life starts at fertilisation. The next stage is that of an embryo and then a foetus that is then called a baby after being delivered.

The witness stated that at 28 weeks, a foetus may survive if delivered pre-term or in the event the mother dies and medical action is taken within minutes.

The record of a baby who was saved alive from a dead mother is 25 minutes.

“If a lady is at 28 weeks of pregnancy and we suspect the baby will not survive the full term, either due to blood pressure or other complications, the baby can be delivered pre-term naturally or through a caesarean section and they may survive.”

Dr Wanjala said while the lifespan of a baby in a womb is 40 weeks, not all babies go to 40 weeks.

Some are delivered pre-term through a caesarean section or naturally.

The consultant was testifying in a case in which Migori Governor Okoth Obado, Casper Obiero, and Michael Oyamo are accused of killing Sharon and her unborn baby.

Dr Wanjala stated that in his more than 32 years in the gynaecology field, the youngest baby he helped to deliver was 24 weeks.

The baby survived.

According to him, Sharon’s killers ensured the mother and unborn baby would not survive. The baby had a stab in the main vein.

He narrated that the baby only had a five per cent survival chance if there was an immediate intervention.

“Having gone through the overall picture of the scenario, Sharon’s baby had little chance of survival. Probably the setting of the situation, in this case, was never meant to give baby Sharon a chance,” he stated.

The trial continues on March 22.