Aids slur 'more painful than labour'

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

A nurse at Durban's Addington Hospital allegedly shouted "make sure you don't spill your Aids blood on me" at a patient in the throes of childbirth.

Now the 33-year-old mother has lodged a complaint because the nurse's words "were more painful even than my labour pains".

The mother, who cannot be named to protect her identity, said she was in labour, but the nurse, who was "just filing her fingernails", refused to help until ordered to do so by a colleague.

She has since given birth to a baby girl, but has lodged a complaint with the hospital. She claims the nurse's "comments" were made in a packed labour ward in front of nurses and patients.

"I was humiliated because of my HIV status. I have not told my family about my HIV status.

"I certainly did not appreciate her rubbing it in by shouting at me in a room full of strangers," said the woman.

She said the nurse did not want to help her from the outset because of her status. With tears streaming down her face, she told Sowetan how the nurse lazed on a chair doing her nails while she was in labour.

She was helped by another nurse who left other patients and came to her rescue when "she saw the baby's head coming out".

"When the nurse did move, she took her time putting on gloves. That's when she shouted that I should make sure I don't spill my AIDS-infected blood on her," added the woman.

A few days after her baby was born, the mother wrote a letter to the hospital complaining about the treatment she had received because of her HIV status.

She said the matron had promised to investigate.

KwaZulu-Natal Health Department spokesman Leon Mbangwa confirmed having been informed of the complaint. He said an investigation was under way and the department "was going to get to the root of the matter".

"We condemn any form of discrimination against our patients by anybody at our health facilities. We view the allegations in a serious light. We will investigate thoroughly," he added.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union has strongly condemned the alleged actions of the nurse.