Imagine, if you will, the unpleasant feeling of being trapped in an elevator. The confined space, the tense wait for rescuers to arrive, the increasing worry as minutes tick by and the doors remain tightly closed.
Now imagine that it's your premature baby -- born at just 28 weeks gestation -- stuck in the elevator, and the doors closed before you could join him.
Oh, and the other thing that's outside of that broken elevator? Your baby's OXYGEN TANK.
Unbelievably, that's exactly what happened last week to a Malaysian mother and her premature infant. According to reports, a nurse was helping Evelyn Bilong move her baby to another ward in a lower level of the hospital, and the nurse was carrying the infant in her arms. The moment the nurse stepped into the elevator the doors swiftly slammed shut -- locking them inside and leaving Evelyn AND the baby's oxygen tank outside.
Thankfully, the elevator didn't descend, because the baby was still attached to the tank by a breathing tube. Evelyn naturally began screaming for help, but she had to wait nearly half an hour before the hospital-summoned maintenance technicians arrived on the scene. Even then, their emergency key didn't work, and they had to call the elevator's manufacturer, who finally got the doors open a full 70 minutes after it had gotten stuck.
I mean, can you even begin to wrap your head around that? I suppose it could have been worse -- at least the breathing tube wasn't yanked from the baby as the elevator plummeted southward -- but STILL. My god, I would have been completely freaking out, and hoping to channel some of that famed superhuman Mom strength to pry open the doors with my bare hands. (Not that I could have, mind you, especially after enduring what was surely a very traumatic birth.)
As terrified as the baby's mom must have been, I bet it was no picnic for that nurse, either. It would have been very, very stressful to be the sole medical personnel responsible for such a delicate infant, in a CLOSED BOX with no EQUIPMENT or FOOD or ANYTHING. GAHHHHHH.
(Can you tell this is triggering some elevator-related phobias of mine?)
The hospital has since issued a statement about the incident, saying,
We are glad that there was no casualty in the incident and the baby is also safe and healthy. However, I hope the hospital will conduct special training for its staff on how to respond to similar incidents in the future so that rescue can be carried out in a shorter period of time.
Yeah, like maybe a giant freaking CROWBAR on every level of the hospital, as long as those emergency keys aren't seeming too reliable?
I'm glad this story had a happy ending, but whew, everything about this makes me want to take the stairs from now on. Or at least be ultra-paranoid about making sure that any mission-critical items -- you know, like oxygen tanks -- are transported through the doors at the exact same time as the person who needs them.
How crazy is this story? What would you even do if that was your baby trapped in an elevator?
Image via Flickr/Richard Masoner