Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter
Some expectant mothers at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) have taken to using cut soda bottles to collect their urine which they submit for testing.
The expectant mothers have been told by the hospital's management to walk with their own pee cups as the facility would not be providing any.
Kelcy-Ann Alexander, a mother-to-be who is to deliver at the UHWI later this year, told The Sunday Gleaner that she was forced to improvise on her first visit to the clinic.
"When I went to register they told us that we needed to take a container to have our urine examined.
"If I go without one I have to get a plastic bottle and cut it open. That's what I had to do the last time. Almost all the mothers I see there are using makeshift containers," said Alexander.
She has paid $40,000 in fees for registration and to have the doctor of her choice deliver her baby at the UHWI.
Alexander's husband, Owen, said that the worst part about the practice is that they are paying for private care.
"Whenever expectant mothers go to the clinic and don't have a container with them the next best thing is to get a bottle and cut it into two pieces. The other day I had to give another pregnant lady a bottle," charged Owen.
Jada Grinder, who delivered her second child at the UHWI in 2007, told our news team that at that time she, too, was told to walk with a container because the hospital would not provide something to pee in.
"I found it tacky. But that's what UHWI does, even now. That's Jamaica, land we love," lamented Grinder.
Nidia Maragh, who delivered her first child at the UHWI in 2009, also confirmed the hospital's curious practice.
"We had to carry our own urine cups," she said.
Maragh, who delivered her next child at the Kingston Public Hospital, said she was never asked to take a urine cup when she attended that facility's clinic.
Meanwhile, Dr Trevor McCartney, chief executive officer and medical chief of staff at the UHWI, told our news team that from time immemorial the hospital has asked expectant mothers to bring their urine in a container.
"It is a long-standing policy that the women come with a sample of urine to be tested.
"It is not something provided by the hospital. It does not need to be sterile. An ordinary container can be used as the urine will be tested for things such as sugar and protein," said McCartney.
"Every time they come to the clinic their urine is tested because they can have pregnancy-induced diabetes mellitus or pre-eclampsia," he said.
The appointment cards given to the expectant mothers make it clear that they should bring a clean container to collect their urine, and McCartney made it clear that nothing will change.
"There is no plan to change it. That has been the norm over the years. I don't think it is an unreasonable request," he said.
However, Shelby Goodman, one expectant mother interviewed by our news team last week, insisted that the hospital should provide the sample cups.
"They can do it. They should because they are reusable. I paid $24,500. With that money they should be able to provide you with some cups," said Goodman.
"The service is getting sloppy," continued Goodman.
She charged that she has witnessed mothers-to-be using soda bottles to catch their urine.
"I used a (disposable) teacup the first time I visited the clinic. I bought a tea and then rinsed the cup and reused it. The nurses informed us that the cafeteria sells the cups for $10," she said.
But McCartney said that he has never heard of expectant mothers using old soda bottles to catch their urine.
Names changed on request.