Parents suspect baby swap

SHORTLY after giving birth Mbali Masuku says a nurse held up the baby to show her she had been blessed with a baby boy.

But just when she was about to be discharged Masuku's aunt found that the baby was in fact a girl.

She is now engaged in a battle with Witbank Hospital, who she says is covering up what appears to be a baby swapping bungle.

"When I got the baby I saw that it was a boy. The nurse held him up to me and said that he was a boy."

Masuku said she went to the toilet soon afterwards and was wheeled back on a wheelchair.

"When I came back from the toilet they gave me the baby wrapped in a blanket," she said.

A few hours later as she was being discharged, her aunt changed the baby's nappy and realised the child was a girl.

She then asked a nurse who assured them the baby was a boy and that after a few days the genitals would "grow out".

Masuku and the baby's father, Charles Mokgetle, said they later took the baby to a doctor who confirmed that it was a girl.

They went back to the hospital because all the birth and hospital records, seen by Sowetan, show that Masuku gave birth to a boy.

"We took blood for a paternity test and they said the blood was lost. So we had to take blood again and the test came back saying Mbali is the mother," Mokgetle said.

He said hospital staff told himthey did a maternity test to check if the child and mother's DNA matched.

The couple now want to get an independent test.

"The problem is when we went to a lab they said they would need a birth certificate for the child which we don't have," Mokgetle said.

The parents did not get a birth certificate because they want to sort the matter out first.

Mpumalanga health department spokesman Dumisani Malamule said: "The department is aware of the patient who claims that her baby was allegedly swapped. The staff at the hospital [had] mistaken the baby's gender of female to that of a male. Although the hospital records were captured as a baby boy, our preliminary investigation shows that there seems to have been a mistake from the side of the nursing staff that worked on the birth of the baby."

He said a DNA test proved that the baby belonged to Masuku and tests were also done on the mothers and babies who were also at the maternity ward that day and no mistakes were made.

"The family has been advised to get a second opinion by conducting their own DNA test privately. However the department is still further investigating the matter with the purpose of taking action against staff that did not do their work properly during the delivery of the baby."


For more stories like this one, be sure to buy the Sowetan newspaper from Mondays to Fridays