Mother’s painful ordeal

2015-02-19 00:00

A WOMAN was left alone, cradling her dead newborn baby for seven long hours, after nursing staff at Northdale Hospital left her unattended.

After being shrugged off by “rude” nurses when she arrived at the hospital and made to sit in agony in the passage of the maternity ward, Mkhize was on the brink of delivering before she was allowed a bed.

Shortly after giving birth, her baby boy was declared dead.

Zikhona Mkhize (25), an unemployed Taylor’s Halt woman, had rushed herself to Northdale Hospital on Monday after ­experiencing severe abdominal pains in her seventh month of pregnancy.

When she arrived, barely able to walk due to the “agonising pain”, hospital staff denied her treatment, saying she had to go to St Mary’s Hospital in Mariannhill because she wasn’t from Pietermaritzburg.

She was made to wait on a bench in the passage way of the maternity ward while the nurses went on their tea break. At this time she “could feel the baby’s head coming”.

“I went down on my knees like I was giving birth and only then they took me seriously. They made me walk from there with the baby’s head coming out and as soon as I got on the bed, I gave birth,” Mkhize said.

Mkhize’s newborn son was immediately taken away from her due to complications in his breathing. He died soon after.

“I cried when they told me he had died. If the sister had taken me seriously before dismissing me, the baby would still be alive. If she helped me earlier, he would be fine,” Mkhize said sadly.

Nurses brought the body of her son back to her as she lay in a pool of her own blood, saying she could take her time with him and even “take pictures if she wants”.

Alone in a ward holding her motionless son in her arms, Mkhize waited for her elder sister Nokuhle to clean her up and bring a blanket to cover the baby. Hospital staff eventually arrived after 5 pm to take the ­baby’s body to the mortuary.

“I had been so excited; this was going to be my second child. We spent R1 000 on the baby’s clothes, which is a lot of money for us. I’m so traumatised by what ­happened,” Mkhize said.

She was released from Northdale ­Hospital on Tuesday.

“We got such appalling service from the hospital and the nurses have a very bad ­attitude. They don’t care about the people,” Nokuhle told The Witness.

The Department of Health had not ­responded by the time of going to press.

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