Baby's corpse still in hospital mortuary after eight months

A child's dead body is rotting at the Mankweng Hospital mortuary.
A child's dead body is rotting at the Mankweng Hospital mortuary.
Image: Antonio Muchave

A baby's body is allegedly rotting in a hospital mortuary because of a dispute over the burial.

The body of the baby boy who died the same day he was born on March 29 has been kept at the Mankweng Hospital's mortuary in Limpopo for more than eight months. This, according to the Dikotla family in Mamadimo Park section of Mankweng, east of Polokwane, was because no one at the hospital wanted to account for the baby's death.

According to family spokesperson Piet Lekganyane, on the day the baby was born, his teen mother had been injected to destroy the pregnancy despite the fact that she had been carrying it for six months. “Our daughter had been pregnant for over six months when she was taken to the hospital for a check-up,” said Lekganyane.

He said upon arrival, a doctor at the hospital tested the 15-year-old girl's urine and told them the results came out negative. Lekganyane said the doctor then injected the girl before referring her to another doctor.

“To our dismay the second doctor confirmed the pregnancy but discharged our daughter to return home,” he said.

He said the girl started developing complications and ended up giving birth at home.

“Upon delivering the baby, we then took both mother and baby to the hospital. And the baby was still alive at the time,” he claimed. He said, however, that the baby died shortly after their arrival at the hospital.

"The hospital advised us to take the baby home to conduct a funeral but we refused because we wanted to know the exact cause of the death,” he said, adding that the hospital also told them the other option would be to conduct a pauper's burial.

The girl's father, David Dikotla, said they had been trying to get the body released from the hospital for them to conduct a burial without any luck.

“The problem is that the undertaker wanted the DHA1663 forms to be filled before they could conduct a burial. But no one was prepared to sign for a death certificate at the hospital,” said the 48-year-old man.

He said when the family went to view the corpse on Tuesday last week they found it in a state of decomposition. “The baby's body had evaporated and only the skull was remaining. We want to know what ate our baby,” he said, adding that his daughter was psychologically affected.

“My daughter has twice tried to take her own life after seeing the state at which her baby was inside the hospital's mortuary. We are always monitoring her to ensure she does not kill herself,” he said.

Department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana denied that the body was rotting.

“It's not true that the corpse is rotting. The body is well taken care of inside our mortuary refrigerators,” said Shikwambana.

He said what had stalled the process of burying the baby was because the family had approached lawyers, “changing the whole matter into a legal process”.

Shikwambana said they had no reason to withhold the corpse and urged the family to come and fetch the body “whenever they are ready to do so”.

A baby's body is allegedly rotting in a hospital mortuary because of a dispute over the burial.

The body of the baby boy who died the same day he was born on March 29 has been kept at the Mankweng Hospital's mortuary in Limpopo for more than eight months. This, according to the Dikotla family in Mamadimo Park section of Mankweng, east of Polokwane, was because no one at the hospital wanted to account for the baby's death.

According to family spokesperson Piet Lekganyane, on the day the baby was born, his teen mother had been injected to destroy the pregnancy despite the fact that she had been carrying it for six months. “Our daughter had been pregnant for over six months when she was taken to the hospital for a check-up,” said Lekganyane.

He said upon arrival, a doctor at the hospital tested the 15-year-old girl's urine and told them the results came out negative. Lekganyane said the doctor then injected the girl before referring her to another doctor.

“To our dismay the second doctor confirmed the pregnancy but discharged our daughter to return home,” he said.

He said the girl started developing complications and ended up giving birth at home.

“Upon delivering the baby, we then took both mother and baby to the hospital. And the baby was still alive at the time,” he claimed. He said, however, that the baby died shortly after their arrival at the hospital.

"The hospital advised us to take the baby home to conduct a funeral but we refused because we wanted to know the exact cause of the death,” he said, adding that the hospital also told them the other option would be to conduct a pauper's burial.

The girl's father, David Dikotla, said they had been trying to get the body released from the hospital for them to conduct a burial without any luck.

“The problem is that the undertaker wanted the DHA1663 forms to be filled before they could conduct a burial. But no one was prepared to sign for a death certificate at the hospital,” said the 48-year-old man.

He said when the family went to view the corpse on Tuesday last week they found it in a state of decomposition. “The baby's body had evaporated and only the skull was remaining. We want to know what ate our baby,” he said, adding that his daughter was psychologically affected.

“My daughter has twice tried to take her own life after seeing the state at which her baby was inside the hospital's mortuary. We are always monitoring her to ensure she does not kill herself,” he said.

Department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana denied that the body was rotting.

“It's not true that the corpse is rotting. The body is well taken care of inside our mortuary refrigerators,” said Shikwambana.

He said what had stalled the process of burying the baby was because the family had approached lawyers, “changing the whole matter into a legal process”.

Shikwambana said they had no reason to withhold the corpse and urged the family to come and fetch the body “whenever they are ready to do so”.

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