Mum carried dead baby for hours in hospital

Frank Maponya

A Limpopo teenage mother had to endure carrying her dead child in her arms for no less than six hours because hospital staff were allegedly reluctant to help her.

The incident happened at the Mankweng Hospital on March 11 where the 17-year-old mother had taken her daughter for treatment.

The young mother, who is still a minor, said the baby was suffering from diarrhoea and other complications when she decided to take her to the hospital.

The hospital is about 15km from her home in GaMamphaka, village near Boyne.

She told Sowetan yesterday that upon arrival at the hospital she approached a doctor who examined the eight-month-old baby.

"The baby had showed signs that she was dehydrated," said the mother.

She said the doctor, whose name is known to Sowetan, inserted a drip in the baby's head. It was at about 11pm.

At about 12.30am the doctor removed the drip and told the mother the baby was "fine" and that she was discharged.

The mother was allegedly told to go to the dispensary to collect medication for the baby.

Among the medication she was given were Panado tablets.

Because the baby was crying hysterically, the mother gave her the Panado hoping she would stop crying.

Shortly thereafter she realised the baby was no longer breathing.

She informed another doctor who was on duty and it was confirmed the baby had died. It was at about 2am.

"I carried the baby in my arms, pleading with nurses to help me with the situation but no one bothered to," she said

She blamed the doctor for her daughter's death.

She said she was only assisted at about 8am when the morning shift staff came to work.

"I was surprised when the doctor wrote in his letter that my daughter had died on arrival," she said.

"If so why did he insert a drip in her and later remove it saying she was fine?" she asked angrily.

The girl's mother said when she was called she was told the hospital would not admit the dead baby to its mortuary.

Spokesperson for the provincial department of health and social development Phuti Seloba said the baby was only declared dead on arrival because she was discharged and came back later.

He said, however, an investigation would be done to determine any wrongdoing on the part of the hospital staff.