Christmas crushed - Couple criticise cops after baby’s death
When his girlfriend went into labour at home on Christmas Eve, one month before the date the doctors had said she would deliver her baby, 26-year-old Dujon Foxton thought the police officers stationed a few steps away from his house would be able to render assistance.
But Foxton said he was given the shock of his life when the cops on duty told him that there was nothing they could do to help.
"In response, they were like, 'We are not prepared for these types of things and the vehicle here is not really for that'," said Foxton, a resident of Mavis Bank in the hilly area of rural St Andrew.
Minutes later, the newborn baby was dead, crushing Christmas for Foxton and his family and leaving them struggling to look towards the new year with any hope.
Foxton told The Sunday Gleaner that the baby was expected on January 23, but his girlfriend started feeling pain on December 24 at about seven o'clock in the morning.
He said he immediately started making some calls, and his girlfriend also called her mother, trying to get a vehicle to take her to the hospital.
The couple had to put a hold on their calling when his girlfriend's water broke. This was followed by contractions, and then his girlfriend's frantic announcement that their baby, the second for the couple, was coming.
With no one else at home but the two of them, and their closest neighbour being an elderly couple, Foxton said he started to assist his girlfriend to deliver their baby as he saw the head coming.
"Right then, I hold the head and I started to pull, and she said it is too hot (painful), I must wait a little. Since I live not even 15 footsteps away from the police, I ran across to the station and I said to them that my babymother is having a baby, I would like a vehicle to take her to the hospital," he said.
Foxton said there was at least one marked vehicle parked at the Mavis Bank Police Station when he got there, and he spoke to at least two cops.
He decided to leave when no help was forthcoming, and ran back through the thin foliage he traversed to get to the station, which is separated from his house by a farm store and a post office.
When he got back home, he found his baby fully delivered and on the ground and his girlfriend about to pass out. He made several more calls and was told that a midwife who was contacted had decided to stop at the health centre in hopes that the couple would have been able to make it there.
"I went up the road the second time to ask somebody for a vehicle. I saw her mother coming with the vehicle same time and I put her in and I took her around to the clinic," he said.
Too distraught to speak
His girlfriend and baby were then taken to the University Hospital of the West Indies, where his baby was pronounced dead.
"It wasn't a good Christmas at all. It is one that I will always remember, but not in a joyful way," said Foxton, as his girlfriend Jodian Hines lay almost motionless in the bed, too distraught to speak with our news team about the experience.
But she said she hasn't been out of bed much since returning from the hospital.
Foxton, who was not in a much better position, said: "It is something that I don't even like to talk about because whenever I talk about it, I start to feel the emotions coming on all over again."
When The Sunday Gleaner visited the Mavis Bank Police Station last Friday, we were informed by the cop on duty that he was not authorised to speak about the matter. He suggested that our news team contact the Jamaica Constabulary Force Corporate Communications Unit (CCU).
Acting head of the CCU, Assistant Superintendent Dahlia Garrick, said she was informed that the police officers did go to the couple's house, but they found the baby wrapped in a towel and not breathing.
She said members of the police force are trained to respond to all types of emergencies.
"We offer service and we assist in whatever way we can. In fact, we are all trained first-aiders and it is not unusual for the police to assist persons in medical emergencies. It is something that we do from day to day," said Garrick.
But Foxton and his family find little comfort in her words as they are convinced that had the police acted sooner, they would have entered the new year with a new baby in tow.