Bungling leads to burial mix-up

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Poverty-stricken Ngcobo family of rural Kranskop, on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, is are traumatise at the discovery that one of the twin babies they buried was not their child. The babies were born prematurely and died hours later.

The familty is demanding an explanation from the provincial department of health for the mix up.

They say bungling at Maphumlo Hospital led to the family burying the wrong child. The remains had to be exhumed later for a reburial

Hlengiwe S'bongile Sithole, 34, gave birth to twins last Wednesday but the babies died a few hours later.

As if that was not enough, Sithole suffered a double tragedy when she and her family discovered that one of her babies was in fact someone else's child.

The body had to be exhumed so that the bodies could be switched for reburial.

A traumatised Sithole told Sowetan yesterday that she felt labour pains on Wednesday afternoon and was taken to a local clinic.

At the clinic, they referred her to the local Maphumulo Provincial Hospital.

"At the hospital I was in the same ward as another woman with the same surname as mine," Sithole said.

Her child died at 6,30am and my first twin died at 9am. The second twin died two hours later."

Sithole said though she gave birth prematurely at six months, she does not understand why her twin boys died.

"The hospital told me they died because they were born prematurely and could not breathe properly," she said.

"The other woman's baby was also born prematurely at eight months."

"I fail to understand how the babies got mixed up." she said.

"There was a difference of almost two hours in their deaths and I don't understand how it happened.

"The other baby was two days older than my twins. The hospital is entirely responsible for the whole ordeal we went through."

The twins' granny, Mavis Ngcobo, 63, said when they arrived at the hospital's mortuary a clerk showed them the dead bodies.

"He told us to hurry up and I personally took them away. They were stuffed together in a bag and it was just a matter of my loading them into the car."

The department of health said it was looking into the matter and would comment later.