An unborn baby died in East Nusa Tenggara after the ambulance carrying the baby’s mother got stuck in a traffic jam where a roadblock had been placed at the border between East Flores regency and Sikka regency.

Yohanes Diaz, the baby’s father, said the ambulance was stuck for around one hour on Saturday (May 23), during which the mother started bleeding.

“[After waiting an hour], the two midwives that were with us got out of the ambulance to ask permission so that we could pass and we were finally allowed to,” He said.

The ambulance then rushed to Dr. TC Hillers General Hospital in Sikka regency, around 73-kilometers from the border. However, the baby did not survive. 

“If we weren’t stuck at the border, our baby would still be alive. Our baby died in the emergency room,” Yohannes said, adding that his wife was healthy and still being treated at the hospital after surgery.

He said ambulances should not be blocked while carrying patients. “I’ve accepted the death of my baby. Maybe this is God’s plan for us,” he went on to say.

Yohannes’s wife was initially admitted to Larantuka General Hospital in East Flores regency but was referred to TC Hillers due to insufficient medical equipment.

Transportation agency secretary Ferdinandus Lepe in Hikong village, Sikka regency said the roadblock was erected after a quibble.

The village administration blocked off the road on Saturday after East Flores COVID-19 task force officers banned people from entering Boru village, situated on the other side of the border.

Ferdinandus said the ambulance was allowed to pass after the midwives reported the situation to officers. “[After being informed about the situation], I ordered the head of Hikong village and residents to immediately dismantle the roadblock so the ambulance could pass,” he said.

He added that the roadblock had been permanently dismantled since Saturday night after a meeting between East Flores and Sikka regents.

Hikong village head Agustinus denied the ambulance was stuck in the traffic jam for around one hour. “The ambulance was at the end of the traffic jam so it should have only needed around 15 minutes to get through. The ambulance was only stuck for 15 minutes,” Agustinus told.


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