Birth at home after ‘misdiagnosis’

2016-02-23 06:00

A Tafelsig woman gave birth at home three months prematurely, after she had been sent hom by doctors at the local maternity unit with a misdiagnosis, a relative believes.

Shakiera Abrahams gave birth to her son at home one afternoon in January.

She was six months pregnant at the time.

Two days earlier Abrahams had visited the Maternity Obstetric Unit (MOU) in Mitchell’s Plain complaining of back pain and bleeding.

Doctors said she had a kidney infection and, according to the relative’s letter to People’s Post, “ignored the bleeding”.

Abrahams was sent home with painkillers and antibiotic tablets, but the pain never subsided. Two days after her visit the pain was so severe that Abrahams’s grandmother, Johanna Koopman, called for an ambulance.

While waiting, Abrahams began giving birth. The baby’s head was already clearly visible between her legs.

The baby was born still enclosed in the amniotic sack. Koopman broke the sack and started CPR on the newborn.

Several neighbours crowded the house and offered help, giving Koopman a chance to focus on Abrahams.

Koopman did what she thought best to save both her granddaughter and the child’s life.

The baby started crying and ambulance services arrived.

It would appear Abrahams had been in labour when she visited the MOU two days earlier. But a health department spokesperson denies this.

Monique Johnstone confirms Abrahams’s visit and says: “Abrahams was examined by a medical professional who treated her condition appropriately. She was then discharged with the required medication to treat the condition.

“If she requires any more detail about her treatment, we encourage her to speak to the treating doctor or facility manager. We can also confirm, according to her medical records and a documented medical examination, that the patient was not misdiagnosed, and because of patient-doctor confidentiality we are unable to divulge further information to the public.”

“The doctors said that if it was not for the calmness and quick reaction of my mother [Koopman], the baby would not have made it.

“I want this story to be told to other pregnant mothers out in our communities,” writes Christopher Spandiel in his letter.

Johnstone says the MOU accommodates up to 3500 pregnant women, on average. Of these patients 2000 are examined by antenatal care professional nurses, 730 are admitted to the labour ward, 200 are treated for minor disorders or false labours, 240 are transferred from labour wards to other facilities and 280 deliver their babies at the MOU.

“We do not have an allocated figure of patients seen at the MOU. The facility assists as many expectant mothers as possible, as our policy is to accommodate any expectant mother seeking healthcare, unless she needs to be referred to a secondary or tertiary healthcare institution for further care,” she says.

On average the MOU has three premature births in a month due to various complications and health reasons.

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