Doctors deliver baby by cellphone light - report

2012-09-11 12:21

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Johannesburg - The SA Registrars' Association has insisted that doctors at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital were forced to perform surgery by cellphone light, despite denials by the health department.

The Star newspaper quoted the association's chairperson Dr Langanani Mbodi, on Tuesday as saying the electricity went out on Friday while doctors were about to deliver a baby by caesarean section.

Mbodi had received this information from doctors at the hospital.

"The mother was opened and doctors had to take the baby out," he told The Star.

Doctors praised

"They couldn't stop, because the mother would have bled to death and the baby would have died."

A battery-operated torch and a cellphone light were used to complete the operation.

Another patient on a ventilator was kept alive by a staff member who had to manually pump the oxygen sack for about 30 minutes, after a back-up battery gave in, Mbodi said.

Mbodi applauded the doctors on duty who kept the patients alive.

On Monday, the Gauteng health department denied that operations were affected by the power outage.

"The power outage happened at 02:00 and the power was restored about two hours later, and in that period there were no operations taking place," said spokesperson Simon Zwane.

A newspaper reported on Monday that operations had to be carried out with the use of cellphone light. Above the story was a picture of doctors carrying out an operation in the dark.

‘Non-existent impression’

"That is a misleading picture to create a wrong impression," said Zwane.

"It is wrong. They are using old pictures to create a non-existent impression about the situation that was attended to and was immediately corrected."

Asked if the hospital had in the past used cellphone lighting during operations, Zwane said: "I don't know where they got the picture from."

"Hospital management has not found any evidence to support that claim."

He said the hospital was not to blame for the power outages.

"The power outages cannot be blamed on the hospital. They occur in the electricity supply network that affects the entire area where the hospital is situated."

Read more on:    soweto  |  johannesburg  |  health
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