Bereaved Mother Speaks at Defamation Trial

“Love’s Labors Lost”

In its continuing coverage of the defamation and hate speech trial of the Balinese Rock musician Jerinx SID, the Bali Post covered the testimony for the defense of Gusti Ayu Arianti and her husband, Yudi Prasetya, in a Denpasar Court Room on Tuesday, 20 October 2020.

The testimony of Gusti Ayu Arianti moved some in attendance to tears as she tearfully related how delays and requirements for a COVID-19 Rapid Test delayed urgent medical treatment after her water membrane broke. When she was eventually granted the needed medical attention, her newborn son was stillborn.

The woman told the three-judge panel, led by female jurist Ida Ayu Adnya Dewi, that she was both willing and able to testify in the trial regarding the Rapid Test Requirements she encountered Bali while giving birth. 

She told the Court how, on 18 August 2020, her water broke as she experienced contractions. She was initially predicted to come to a full-term pregnancy two weeks later on 04 September 2020. 

When her water membrane broke, she reported to the hospital, where she was required to first undergo a mandatory Rapid Test for COVID-19. Because the hospital in question did not perform COVID-19 Rapid Tests, Arianti, already in a state of severe panic, was referred from the hospital to a community health center (Puskesmas) for the required Rapid Test. 

The test was performed in the outer yard of the Puskesmas, where the woman, already suffering painful contractions, was told the results would be ready in 30 minutes.

The judge asked Arianti, “What did you feel when you were asked to undergo a Rapid Test?” The woman admitted she was disappointed, adding: “But I followed the procedure. If I didn’t obey, I would not be treated. In the end, I received a Rapid Test, and I was eventually treated. After the Rapid Test was done, then I returned to the hospital. When I arrived in the emergency room, the heartbeat of my child was already weak. A device was attached to my stomach to detect the heartbeat of my child.”

Her son was delivered via a caesarian section but, tragically, in a stillborn state. Before the operation, Arianti told of how she repeatedly pleaded with the medical personnel to perform the procedure because of her regular contractions and the birth membrane’s rupturing.

Arianti said that because of the strict requirement for a Rapid Test, her child may have died. She told the Court that she was saddened by the obstacle represented by the need for a Rapid Test. She also heard one of the doctors remark, during the operation, that the baby had already been dead in her uterus for seven days.

The judge then asked if the doctor’s statement made any sense?

The woman replied that the doctor’s explanation that the baby had been dead for seven days made no sense because there was still a heartbeat when she arrived at the emergency room. 

When Arianti challenged the doctor’s observations, the doctor reportedly replied it was merely “God’s miracle” that a dead baby was still recording a heartbeat.

The Court then asked how her experience bore any connection with the current trial of Jerinx SID, she told the jurists that she “agreed “with the musician’s opinion of the dangers and lack of necessity of Rapid Tests for pregnant women. She said she wanted to testify so other mothers would not suffer a similar loss of a child.

“What do you mean, “agree?” challenged the judge.

“We never know when birth will occur. The date can advance, and the water may break. This is what I experienced. We thought the baby would be born on 04 September, but on 18 August, the water broke, and contractions began,” Arianti said. 

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