Sat, 21 Feb 2004

Late treatment destroys a mother's dream

Abdul Khalik The Jakarta Post Jakarta

Tiharoh, 29, felt like the whole world had fallen down around her when she witnessed the death of her five-year-old daughter, Maulidina Putri, due to dengue fever on Thursday.

"I don't know how I will be able to face the loss. I'll never forget her sweet face at the time death took her. I love her so much, but maybe God loves her more," she said on Friday while trying to calm herself.

"We named her after the month when Prophet Muhammad was born as we hoped she would be as wise as him. She was very smart and talkative. She wanted to be an engineer and I believe she could have made her dream come true," she added, trying to hold back tears.

Mauli, the little girl's nickname, had complained of muscle pain last Friday. Realizing that her daughter's temperature was very high, Tiharoh asked her husband, Darmanto, 34, to take the girl to a nearby clinic for treatment.

"The doctor gave us medicine to ease her temperature but it did not stabilize. By Sunday and Monday, she could play, although her temperature was still high at times," the mother recalled.

Last Tuesday, Mauli's condition worsened, forcing her parents to take her to the nearby community health center. The doctor there took a blood test. However, the diagnosis was encouraging as the test showed her thrombocyte (blood platelet) per milliliter was around 200,000, whereas in dengue cases it would usually be below 100,000.

"The news was a relief because we thought she didn't have dengue fever. The doctor gave us medicine that had to be taken every six hours," said Darmanto, an unemployed driver who is looking for a job.

Late that night, Mauli's temperature dropped and Tiharoh was shocked to find that the girl's body was as cold as ice.

"She coughed up blood. We were in a panic and took her to Budhi Asih Hospital right away. The doctor said that her condition was already acute. It was hard for the nurse to give her an infusion," Tiharoh said.

"I still remembered how she screamed in pain when the nurse injected the needle. Not long after that she died and there was nothing I could do."

The couple have two other children, a seven-year-old daughter and a three-month-old baby son. However, Mauli, the second child, used to be the life of the street where the family lives. The neighbors and street vendors missed the sound of her voice.

"When she was around, people would forget their sadness because she would talk to them about everything. She simply can't stop talking," said Tiharoh.

She said she and her husband really believed that Mauli could have been somebody as she not only had natural charm but was also very smart. She even used to teach her older sister how to read, Tiharoh said.

"I don't know what went wrong. I don't think I can blame the doctor, the hospital or the government. It is our family's fate. We just have to let her go."