Doctor should be struck off, says woman who lost her baby

2013-01-21 00:00

PRETORIA — A mother is considering legal steps after her premature baby boy, Donovan, died after landing head-first on the floor of the state hospital when she went into labour on Christmas Day.

Janine Meiring (33) said a doctor at Kalafong hospital in Atteridgeville was in the room, but ignored her pleas and “with a smile” told her to pick up her baby.

“I am seething. My tears ran dry. I don’t want recompense, but for the doctor to be scrapped from the register. He should not work with women or children.”

Meiring was 27 weeks pregnant when her contractions started on Christmas eve. The Pretoria West hospital referred her to Kalafong pital because previous complications had made her a high-risk case.

“With our arrival there were no porters or wheelchairs. I could hardly stand, but the staff ... ignored me.”

Meiring said she warned them her babies (she has three children) usually arrived quickly, but the nurses told her there was a shortage of staff.

After initially refusing admission to Marcus Brits (33), her fiancé, nurses allowed him to help her to the sonar room.

“I could not keep it in anymore and in the sonar room struggled to get on to the bed and vomited. The doctor walked in and did the sonar, but ignored me when I asked about the baby.”

Meiring said the doctor told her she must walk back to the nurses on her own.

“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.”

Her knees started to bend, but the doctor pulled her upright.

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

Meiring said the baby landed so hard on the floor that he bounced and hit his head a second time; Donovan’s umbilical cord was ripped in two.

“I just looked at the doctor in disbelief ... with a smile told me I had to pick up the baby. He did nothing to help me.”

Meiring said she ran with her baby, who was struggling to breathe, to the nurses. Brits said the doctor did nothing to help the baby.

Donovan died a few hours later in the hospital’s high-care unit.

A paediatrician said the baby’s 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 heard on Christmas Day that Gauteng Health MEC Hope Papo was presenting gifts to Christmas babies, but her requests to speak to him were refused.

Hospital head Dr Lancelot Phalatsi, said the incident was being investigated. Simon Zwane, of the Gauteng Health Department, said a report on the issue was expected today.

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