‘I want the hospital to be held accountable. The baby could have died. If she’d died, I would have had to foot the funeral costs.’
Durban – A woman is searching for answers after her baby granddaughter was cut on the head when her daughter gave birth at a state hospital.
The baby’s head was lacerated during a Caesarean section at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital on September 17.
Duduzile Sikhenekhene, 35, said she was responsible for both mother and baby because her daughter was underage, and she had signed all the documents at the hospital.
Sikhenekhene was not present at the birth, but saw her granddaughter the following day. Her daughter told her the baby was cut during the birth.
“I was told they would not help her give birth until I came to the hospital to sign documents. But when they had cut the baby during the birth, they did not call to tell me,” Sikhenekhene said.
“My daughter was also discharged without pain medication and with the intravenous needle still in her arm.”
Her daughter told her staff had apologised for harming the baby.
Sikhenekhene said she returned to the hospital to seek answers from staff, who said someone would call her. A month later no one had called. She had returned on several occasions to follow up, but was unsuccessful.
“I want the hospital to be held accountable,” she said. “The baby could have died. If she’d died, I would have had to foot the funeral costs.”
Health Department spokesperson Noluthando Nkosi said the baby’s head injury was due to a known risk associated with a certain type of pregnancy, which could not be disclosed (in keeping with the National Health Act).
“The outcome was explained to the young mother and her next of kin on September 18. The meeting was facilitated by a medical consultant, a professional nurse, and the public relations officer,” she said.
Nkosi said because Sikhenekhene was not satisfied, the hospital had scheduled another meeting for this Thursday. “Discharging a patient without removing the needle would have been gross recklessness, but there’s no evidence in the medical notes of a needle not being removed from the patient,” she said.