'Urgent' probe into baby's hospital death

2013-01-21 14:32
Janine Meiring tells how her premature baby died following a nightmare labour at Kalafong hospital. (Liza van Deventer, Beeld)

Janine Meiring tells how her premature baby died following a nightmare labour at Kalafong hospital. (Liza van Deventer, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The Gauteng health department is investigating the death of a baby which allegedly fell on the floor during birth at Kalafong Hospital in Alberton, a spokesperson said on Monday.

The department's Simon Zwane said the matter was being attended to with "extreme urgency".

"We are not happy that, on the face of it, it seems that somebody did not properly manage our patient and it resulted in this unfortunate incident."

Doctor didn't help

Beeld newspaper reported that Janine Meiring, 33, was rushed to Kalafong hospital on 24 December after going into labour during her 27th week of pregnancy.

Meiring told the newspaper the hospital had been short-staffed and that no porter or wheelchair was provided.

After having a sonar scan, the doctor apparently ignored Meiring when she asked him about the baby and told her to walk back to the nurses.

"I said I could not and cried. The contractions were out of control. He insisted I had to get off the bed and helped me off. I had hardly taken two steps when I felt the baby’s head with my hand. I told the doctor I could feel his head, but he said I should not touch there and pulled my hand away," she told the newspaper.

"Then the baby arrived and slipped through my fingers onto the floor."

Meiring said the baby landed so hard it bounced and landed on its head a second time. The umbilical cord ruptured.

"I just looked at the doctor in disbelief. With a smile, he told me I had to pick up the baby. He did nothing to help me."

Meiring claimed she picked up her baby, who was struggling to breathe, and ran to the nurses. The baby later died.

A paediatrician told Beeld his death could have been caused by the head injury, blood loss due to the ruptured umbilical cord, infection, or undeveloped lungs because of the premature birth.


Meiring said she wanted the doctor stripped of his practising licence.

"He should not work with women or children," she told Beeld.

Zwane could not comment on whether the doctor was still on duty.

"Once we are done with investigations, the matter will be reported to the Health Professions Council," said Zwane.

The baby's death follows a string of others at the George Masebe hospital in Limpopo over the festive period.

The babies reportedly died of treatable diseases because most of the staff and management were on leave. A senior manager has since been suspended.


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