The damaged generation: 'My daughter didn't cry when she was born'

2013-09-01 14:00

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Elina Rasebitsi clearly remembers the conversation between two doctors about whether or not she should be taken to theatre for a Caesarean section.

It was a few minutes after 3am. A doctor was examining her to check how far along her baby was.

“Another doctor walked into the maternity ward and the doctor who was busy with me asked him to come over, telling him that I had been in labour for a long time but the baby was not coming.

“The other doctor said the baby could be in distress and I should be taken to theatre for a Caesarean section, but the first one said a vacuum could be used to extract the baby,” Rasebitsi said.

Minutes later, she was wheeled to the labour ward where a vacuum was used to suck her child out.

Her daughter didn’t cry when she was born. The assisting nurse cleaned her up and placed her in an incubator before taking her off to the neonatal unit.

Hours later, Rasebitsi went to see her baby girl, only to discover that her head was swollen and there was bruising at the back of her neck. Afraid to ask what had happened, she left with many unanswered questions.

She was discharged the next day but her baby daughter Nosipho remained in hospital for a week.

When she finally came home, she cried day and night. The swelling had subsided but the bruises were still there.

Worried, Rasebitsi took her to a private clinic where tests were conducted, including a CAT scan, which is used to detect abnormal tissue as well as other injuries in the body.

The results showed that Nosipho had suffered a brain injury which could have been caused by the vacuum machine.

“I was devastated when doctors told me she may never be able to walk, sit or talk,” Rasebitsi said.

“I kept praying that she will get better or even be able to sit on her own, but it has not happened and I have accepted that it never will.”

Nosipho cannot live with her mother, who is a domestic worker. Her grandmother takes care of her.

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