‘I don’t remember being told it was for sterilisation’

2014-08-05 00:00

WHEN Nokuthula Khathi signed forms consenting to a Caesarean at Addington Hospital 18 years ago, she didn’t know she was to be robbed of her womanhood.

But four years ago she discovered that nurses and doctors there, who gave her forms to sign, were allegedly bent on making sure she never had a child again — because she is HIV-positive.

“I remember signing while I was in pain, but I don’t remember being told that the forms were for sterilisation or something else,” Khathi claimed in an interview with The Witness.

Kathi, an auxiliary nurse at King Dinizulu Hospital, learnt that she would no longer have children four years ago when her gynaecologist removed her womb because of cancer.

“When he removed the womb, he asked why I had tied my Fallopian tubes. I told him I never did, but he said they were tied. I realised that I had had an operation in January 1996 at Addington Hospital,” she said.

Even though her womb had been removed, learning of what had happened earlier and knowing she had been denied the right to have children prompted her to seek professional help.

“It was so difficult because apart from being HIV-positive, how was I to explain to my partner that I could not have a child?” She asked.

“I was so depressed. It is something that often comes to my mind that I will never have a child,” she said.

When she told a new boyfriend that she could not have children, he sent her a WhatsApp message: “It’s over”.

Khathi’s says her woes started when she went to the hospital’s labour ward to give birth months after she was diagnosed with HIV when she fell pregnant for the first time at age 28.

At the time, she was still coming to terms with being dumped by a another partner on learning she was HIV positive. “I said life must go on,” she recalled.

Khathi dedicated her energy to bringing up her baby to whom she gave birth at the same time as she was sterilised.

Sadly the child died when he was five years and eight months old.

Khathi is not considering joining others in suing the department. “It is going to drag on. It will bring back bad memories,” she said.

But, Khathi wishes that the Health Department would at least say sorry to her and ensure no more women are sterilised against their will.

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