A noble profession given a bad name

2013-08-25 10:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

An investigation by City Press and Media24 Investigations reveals a staggering R1.9 billion in claims arising from 336 lawsuits lodged against the Gauteng health department. Disturbingly, 35% of those claims were lodged on behalf of parents whose babies sustained brain injuries during births.

These were badly botched by nurses and doctors at a number of the province’s public health facilities.

These children, many of whom developed the debilitating condition of cerebral palsy as a result, have little or no chance of leading normal lives.

In many cases, their predicament was entirely avoidable.

City Press conducted interviews with 10 mothers whose little boys and girls are unable to walk, talk or feed themselves. In some cases, they cannot even sit.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi blames it on a lack of supervision, especially in district hospitals, where there are too “few advanced midwives and obstetricians”. He’s right, of course. But there is more to it than that.

We also found an attitude of callous indifference displayed by staff responsible for these bungled births towards the mothers and the babies they delivered.

One mother gave her admitting nurse a referral letter from her clinic, saying she needed a Caesarean section because her baby was too big to be born naturally. But she says when she handed the letter over, the nurse shouted at her, demanding to know when she had become a childbirth expert.

Another mother claims her cries were met with a scolding from nurses who told her that they were not there when she decided to have a baby, so she should not disturb them.

Yet another mother told her admitting nurse that her baby was lying in the problematic breech position in her womb, but was dismissed.

One state doctor said: “The nurses just don’t listen to the mothers and they don’t administer the correct treatment at the correct time.”

If staff had listened to those mothers, chances are that their children could have had a shot at leading normal lives.

Motsoaledi said his ministry was addressing the problem by employing specialist health teams, each comprising an obstetrician, a paediatrician, a family physician, an anaesthetist and an advanced midwife in all districts. These professionals will then train their colleagues at district hospitals.

Aside from how to spot birth complications, we hope that aspects like compassion and care form part of the curriculum.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.