THE FAMILY of an 18-year-old patient who died shortly after giving birth believes that staff members at Professor ZK Matthews Hospital in Barkly West were negligent.
Family members claimed that Lizbeth Makaloi bled to death after she was refused medical assistance.
According to an affidavit, all three nurses who were on duty at the time refused to accompany her to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley.
It was stated that, in line with hospital regulations, a patient will not be admitted to a tertiary hospital if they are not accompanied by a nurse.
A nurse apparently called the police to intervene after she complained that a relative became “riotous”, where he accused the hospital of not assisting Lizbeth.
Family members claimed that Lizbeth’s file at the hospital was also missing.
Kedibone Makaloi said her sister was admitted to Professor ZK Matthews Hospital on October 29 after going into labour.
“She gave natural birth on October 30 to a baby girl and did not experience any complications,” Kedibone said.
“I kept on phoning her to find out how she was, as we were not allowed to visit her due to Covid-19 regulations. The last time I spoke to her, she was in good health and asked me to bring her some cooldrink, nappies and some washcloths, which I dropped off at the hospital.”
Kedibone added that at around 5.30pm on October 30 the family was called to the hospital, where they informed that her sister had died.
“They told us to collect the baby, who was crying and hungry. I was in shock and was too traumatised to go and identify the body.”
She said that Lizbeth was attending school and had managed to write her June exams. “She was in Grade 9 and took some time off to have the baby. She was intending to resume her schooling next year.”
Kedibone indicated that her aunt would adopt the baby.
“We have named her Lizbeth, after her mother.”
Eddie Dladla believes that his niece’s death was the result of negligence and insisted that the matter be thoroughly investigated.
“I tried phoning the CEO of the hospital and the manager, but their phones were off. No one could explain to us what happened. We are not convinced that she died of natural causes,” said Dladla.
“Medical staff failed in their obligation to assist my niece while she was bleeding to death. If they were unable to help her, they should have transferred her to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital as an emergency case. Instead, we now have to bury her this weekend.
“It will be very difficult to explain to her daughter how her mother died such a painful and unnecessary death.”
Hendrik Tshipinyane said that he did not expect that he would have to bury his daughter.
“I also lost my wife, who died during childbirth in 2011. In this day and age, we do not expect deaths of this nature. My daughter was young and healthy when she was admitted and the other patients in the maternity ward are witnesses to the poor medical treatment that Lizbeth was subjected to. I am short of breath and my children were supposed to bury me, not the other way around,” said Tshipinyane.
He added that Lizbeth was a keen soccer player who was well-behaved.
Northern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Lulu Mxekezo said on Thursday that the department would investigate the circumstances surrounding the patient’s death.
“Specialised experts are investigating the matter and the outcome will be managed accordingly, as the matter is classified as a potential maternal death. The department manages such cases according to the maternal death guidelines. No further details can therefore be provided, to maintain confidentiality and to ensure an unbiased outcome of the investigation,” said Mxekezo.
She conveyed her condolences to the bereaved family.
“The department takes note of the unfortunate incident that allegedly happened in Barkly West and conveys deepest condolences to the family.”