News24

Dead baby's records 'missing'

2008-07-07 11:30

Nelspruit - A couple whose baby died unattended at one of Mpumalanga's biggest hospitals has been told the case can't be investigated because the medical records have gone missing.

The grieving parents, Zandile Nkentjane, 24, and Sibusiso Mbele, 25, went to Tonga hospital near the Swaziland border on June 23 with some of their elders to lodge a complaint with hospital CEO Dr Sibongile Lekhuleni about the death of their daughter, Buhlebetfu.

"We weren't taken to the CEO's office, but to that of a man who told us to collect Buhlebetfu's file at reception," said Nkentjane.

When they went to reception, they were told the file was missing.

"We returned to the man and he insisted that they needed the file to see what was written in it, otherwise they wouldn't be able to investigate our complaint," said Nkentjane.

'I won't give up just like that'

"I still can't believe what is happening," she added tearfully. "I don't think my daughter's soul will rest in peace unless we settle this. I won't give up just like that. I will fight until the hospital investigates who lost my daughter's file and tells us why the nurses left my baby to die alone."

The baby died on May 7 after being left unattended for nearly six hours from 02:00 to 07:40. At about 02:00 the nurse on night duty told Nkentjane that the only available doctor was performing a caesarean section.

The toddler had been struggling to breathe all night and her mother was busy changing her nappy when she took her last breath at about 07:40 and died.

Mpumalanga health spokesperson Mpho Gabashane urged the parents to return to the hospital and insist on speaking directly to the CEO.

"They have a right to report those who are mishandling their matters," said Gabashane. "No one has a right to prevent a patient or complainant from seeing the hospital CEO to report their problems."

SAHRC probing another child's death

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, the South African Human Rights Commission has been asked to investigate the death of five-year-old Munashe Princess Keswa of Zimbabwe who died at a Gauteng hospital on May 21 because two Mpumalanga hospitals failed to treat her.

Keswa was involved in a head-on collision near Delmas while fleeing the xenophobic violence in Gauteng.

Munashe had be extracted from the vehicle with the jaws of life and was taken to both the Delmas and Witbank hospitals, but received no treatment because nurses told her parents she had to be treated in Gauteng.

Her parents then took her to a Gauteng hospital where she died.

When the Christian Party in Mpumalanga learnt of the incident, they appealed to the SAHRC to investigate the matter.

The SAHRC has acknowledged receipt of the complaint and handed it to its Mpumalanga office for investigation.