The damaged generation: Teen can’t walk, talk or feed himself

2013-09-01 06:00

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Thembeni Khanyi

Child’s name: Sibusiso (13)

Born at: Pholosong Hospital in Ekurhuleni

Cause of cerebral palsy: Severe birth asphyxia

Case: Sued the state. Won in 2011 and was awarded R9.25 million

Thembeni Khanyi knew her son was lying in a breech position, with his head under her ribcage and not down against her cervix.

And when she was admitted to the Pholosong Hospital at about 7.30am on December 2 1999, she told the nurse who examined her.

But the nurse dismissed the information, demanding to know how she new this, and insisted everything was in order. Half an hour later, a doctor re-examined her and wrote in her file that he had found nothing to be wrong.

Later that morning another abdominal assessment was done on the mother of three and the nurse wrote in her medical records: “Inactive labour, foetal heart heard, cervix four centimetres dilated, membrane ruptured.” She then recommended that she be transferred to the labour ward.

At 1.30pm, Khanyi felt a foot appearing from her vagina and called the nurses. She was examined and a doctor confirmed the footling breech – a situation where the baby’s foot has already emerged from the womb before any other part of its body.

She was taken to the labour ward to give birth, despite the fact that breech babies are usually delivered by Caesarian section.

According to court papers, this was because three other women were booked for Caesarean sections that day with the last beginning at 3.30pm.

Khanyi was in excruciating pain for about two hours and court papers show that forceps were used.

When Sibusiso came out at about 3.20pm he was blue. Like any baby deprived of oxygen during birth he was placed in an incubator and taken to the neonatal unit.

His mother was discharged the following day and he remained behind.

Today, Sibusiso is a teenager but cannot walk, talk or feed himself.

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