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Those Painful Teenage Years

In my work, I accidentally encounter problematic teens when they get admitted under my service as the consultant on duty. I would like to share these two stories that I have come across with. Let us not judge them too quickly until we have finally come to the bottom of their stories.

Teen Y was a 15 year old female who was brought to the hospital for attempted suicide; she drank a silver cleaner. We were glad she did not have any caustic injuries down her alimentary tract or else I would have been so stressed. I kept her for observation but while in the ward, I was not able to talk to her in depth. She always covered herself in blanket. She was always with a friend; the mother or parents never took watch.

I asked the mother to pay me a visit at the clinic as she is always busy with their retail store and I could not meet her by chance when I do my rounds. She revealed that her daughter was born out of wedlock during her younger years. She is now married to another man who accepted the elder daughter like his own. However due to conflicts with her, the daughter gets to live with the grandmother sometimes. Just before the suicide attempt, she was trying to call her daughter. Apparently her daughter was not taking her call, which made her mad. When her daughter arrived, she reprimanded her. While the daughter was trying to explain why she wasn’t able to get the call, the mother refused to listen. She raised her voice instead and had told the daughter that she is disrespectful and has no sense of indebtedness.

I discharged the patient after more than 24 hours observation and told her to follow-up at the clinic after a week. I was glad she came over with the mother. So I asked the mother that I needed to talk to the daughter alone, while she waits outside. I asked her what made her mother get mad at her to the point she had thought of committing suicide.

She said she was at home but on the next door building, manning the store. Then her phone’s battery got drained. She left the phone at the first floor and went upstairs. That was when the mother was calling. She had no way of knowing her mother calling. So when she saw her mother later, she was surprised why she was being reprimanded. She tried to explain that her phone died, but her mother kept on ranting. She got so desperate because deep inside her she knew she did nothing and yet here she is being wrongfully accused. She went back to the next door store, saw the silver cleaner and drank it.

I called the mother and talked to them both. I had to explain things, let the mother know that sometimes she also needs to listen to her daughter and if she thinks the daughter becomes disrespectful as she talks to her, then she can point it out in a non-authoritative manner. Meanwhile, I also told the daughter to listen to her mother as I was sure the mother only want good things to happen to her, and that she might not repeat whatever mistakes her mother had done during her younger years.

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A 17-year old female came to the labor room with cervix fully dilated. History reveals she is 28 weeks pregnant. She came to the hospital with an 18 year old cousin. There was no time to transfer the mother to the delivery room as when the baby was at the treatment room, the head was already crowning. Baby was born vaginally and had to be brought immediately to the neonatal ICU. Baby was stabilized and initial x-ray didn’t show respiratory distress syndrome. But knowing that the mother was not given antenatal steroids, I was anticipating that eventually the baby will deteriorate respiratory wise in the next hours. I was not present at the labor room during the delivery but my resident was so I had been giving my instructions via phone call. He did a great job.

Baby had vomited repeatedly even if we only give minimal enteral feeding once. I had requested for x-ray to be repeated. On evaluation of the film, true enough, respiratory distress progressed. We needed surfactant to be administered so I asked what was the financial status of the patient (we don’t have surfactant in the hospital but it can be bought from a nearby pharmacy). I was told that the teen mom is unsupported, apparently she was disowned, and the boyfriend does not support her either.

I went to interview the teen mom after I did my rounds. She was from the south who was sent to the metropolis to stay with a male cousin, first-cousin, the reason why, I failed to ask. While being in Manila, the cousin would make her drink until she passes out. The next day, the girl would notice that her vulva feels sore. This had happened several times according to her, until she got pregnant. She never reported it, but she let her cousin know that she got pregnant. She then came over to the highlands. Her granny, who has end-stage renal disease came to learn about her condition. (But she could not support also this hospitalization as she is just dependent on her son for her dialysis expenses.) Teen mom only had one prenatal visit before the delivery. While I was interviewing her, my voice broke and said, “so, this is rape.”

I got to do something. I told the OB in-charge to notify the Women and Child Protection Unit, even if the crime was not committed locally. Meanwhile I wanted the baby to be transferred to another hospital where they can give surfactant for free. But we cannot make major decisions as the mom is a minor, and the cousin cannot sign for the consents. As I was about to leave the hospital I was glad I met a relative of legal age who took the role as the guardian of both the teen mom and the baby. Baby was transferred within few hours.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Adolescents

 

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The Filipino Adolescents 2012

The Filipino Adolescents 2012.

 

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The Filipino Adolescents 2012

(Photo courtesy of http://reynthology.blogspot.com/2012/06/pinoy-teen-smokers-on-rise.html)

A woman recently gained attention after she performed cesarean section on her OWN SELF, delivering her own baby. As of this time we don’t know what drove her to do this. Did she use anesthesia, what kind and how, to avoid pain; or did she do it without any anesthetics at all? What drove her to do this when the baby is term and she could just have waited to labour? She sew herself with a regular needle and thread.

I remember another case of abortion that I came across with, though not as violent as that top story. She was in her early 20s, student. She was impregnated by her boyfriend; they’re unmarried. She looked frail, like someone who’s so meek enough to who raise her point when they’d argue. She seemed like she’ll say yes to everything.

At about 28 weeks, her boyfriend told her to take they need to do something about the pregnancy. They bought some abortifacient from the witches selling “pamparegla” (menstruation regulating substance/concoctions) outside Quiapo Church. (Yes, that iconic church that seems not to do anything about those witches around her, and allowing them to bastardize her with their merchandize, even on a Sunday). She took in 5 tablets of the drug, and inserted another 10 tablets into her vagina. Presto, preterm labor instantly.

She delivered to a 28 weeks preterm baby boy, who eventually needed mechanical ventilator to breath. They cannot afford surfactant so it was not given to the baby.

I talked to the mother of the baby as well as her mother about the incident.

First, I asked her why she committed that act. She blankly said, her boyfriend told her to do it.

Second, I asked her if she knew that taking the drug and inserting them as well to her vagina will cause labor pains, she just said “no.”

Then I told her, “are you aware that what you did is a form of killing?” She just said “no.”

My next question was “do you know that what you did is a crime?” Again, blankly, she said “no.”

Lastly, I told her, “did you know that I can call a police right now and have you arrested for what you did to your baby?” That was the only time she seemed to have realized the gravity of her crime, and so was her mother, and they broke down.

It is overwhelming and alarming that young people nowadays are not abreast with the different things they are doing. Only after the crime as been consummated will they come to realize that such an act was criminal.  What have you there… bullying classmates until the victim falls in a manhole and die, joking about holding/pointing a gun to a playmate and then accidentally shoot and kill him, daredevil stunts with a bike or skateboard just because they saw it was cool on youtube videos and then they get the worse fracture an orthopedics would almost object attending to, and many more.

Adolescence is a time of big confusion during a person’s life; they’re no longer kids, but they’re not yet adults. Hormones are raging making them ambivalent or confused, seeking identity or roles to portray, explore their sexuality, among other else. Peer influence is strong enough thus the high probability to form gangs during this age.

Parents have the biggest responsibility to guide their children until they can become totally independent and live on their own. It’s not the teachers at school, nor the religious at church. But how could the parents attend to all of their children’s needs when there are too many of them? Guidance and proper education can also fill in the void these adolescents quest.

A very matter of fact education that these teens need these days is age-appropriate sex education. This does not teach students to foreplay and have orgasm. Rather, sexuality education that will teach them about their body parts, how it functions, how pregnancy occurs, what are the sequela of being pregnant, responsible parenthood, contraceptives, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), etc. With the advent of information technology, a person can easily access these information, but without guidance, they will not understand it clearly. Still guidance is what these young people need so as to avoid unwanted “excursions.”

A study done has already shown that sexuality education has significantly delayed the first sexual intercourse among teenagers, lesser incidence of STIs, lesser incidence of early pregnancy and increased use of contraceptives.

Another sad facts that have plagued the young people recently are: (1) Philippines has been ranked no. 1 having the most number of teenage pregnancies in Asia, (2) increasing incidence since 1984 of HIV/AIDS among the 15-24 age bracket (2282/9669 or 23.6% cummulative incidence as of May 2012, http://www.doh.gov.ph/sites/default/files/NEC_HIV_May-AIDSreg2012.pdf), and (3) the very high incidence of smoking among the Filipino teenagers. These must have caught the attention of those in the palace.

Will you just be startled there?

 

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Early Marriages, Adolescents and Young Pregnancies

Early Marriages, Adolescents and Young Pregnancies.

 

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