It was Beryl Otieno Ngoje’s turn to work the desk in the Same Day Surgery Unit at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), in Newark. She was busy with the usual administrative duties – filing charts, handing out forms to the patients, answering visitors’ questions – when another nurse hurried up beside her.
“Oh, something just happened, you won’t believe it,” the woman said, visibly excited. “I have it in my hand.” She held up a clenched fist, palm up. “I have it in my hand,” she said again.
“What do you have in your hand?” Beryl asked, bemused at the woman’s demeanor.
“Do you want to see?”
“Yes,” Beryl said – and instantly regretted it.
The other nurse opened her hand to reveal the tiny, tiny form of a baby, just aborted.