Mom still traumatised by infant death

2011-03-14 07:00

The sight of Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital chills Itumeleng Phelane to the bone.

It was there, almost a year ago, that she lost her newborn son in a norovirus outbreak that claimed the lives of six children before it was contained.

She was stunned this week to learn that our investigation established that many of the hygiene control problems, identified by the subsequent investigation into the outbreak which claimed her child, are still prevalent.

The official report into the infant deaths identified as causes, among other things, a lack of basic supplies such as roller towels and antiseptic sprays; and a shortage of equipment such as thermometers, which could lead to cross-infection if shared.

The panel that investigated the outbreak could not establish how the virus had been introduced into the ward, saying only that “it could have come from a mother, visitor or health worker”.

Phelane (24) said: “It pains me to see this place, because it brings back all those sad memories of me losing my baby.

The worst part is that no one seems to be taking responsibility, because I have not heard from any official since July.

“I know that nothing is going to bring my baby back, but someone must be held responsible so that what happened to me never happens to anyone else.”

Phelane’s face was the image of sadness when she spoke about her dead child.

“I am managing to move on with this scar, which I will carry until I die as a reminder of the pain I went through, but with nothing to show for it,” Phelane said.

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