Doctors deliver baby by cellphone light - report

2012-09-11 12:21

Johannesburg - The SA Registrars' Association has insisted that doctors at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital were forced to perform surgery by cellphone light, despite denials by the health department.

The Star newspaper quoted the association's chairperson Dr Langanani Mbodi, on Tuesday as saying the electricity went out on Friday while doctors were about to deliver a baby by caesarean section.

Mbodi had received this information from doctors at the hospital.

"The mother was opened and doctors had to take the baby out," he told The Star.

Doctors praised

"They couldn't stop, because the mother would have bled to death and the baby would have died."

A battery-operated torch and a cellphone light were used to complete the operation.

Another patient on a ventilator was kept alive by a staff member who had to manually pump the oxygen sack for about 30 minutes, after a back-up battery gave in, Mbodi said.

Mbodi applauded the doctors on duty who kept the patients alive.

On Monday, the Gauteng health department denied that operations were affected by the power outage.

"The power outage happened at 02:00 and the power was restored about two hours later, and in that period there were no operations taking place," said spokesperson Simon Zwane.

A newspaper reported on Monday that operations had to be carried out with the use of cellphone light. Above the story was a picture of doctors carrying out an operation in the dark.

‘Non-existent impression’

"That is a misleading picture to create a wrong impression," said Zwane.

"It is wrong. They are using old pictures to create a non-existent impression about the situation that was attended to and was immediately corrected."

Asked if the hospital had in the past used cellphone lighting during operations, Zwane said: "I don't know where they got the picture from."

"Hospital management has not found any evidence to support that claim."

He said the hospital was not to blame for the power outages.

"The power outages cannot be blamed on the hospital. They occur in the electricity supply network that affects the entire area where the hospital is situated."

  • klippies.coke.7 - 2012-09-11 12:32

    Well done to the doctors and nursing staff!

  • Hemlock - 2012-09-11 12:34

    Amazing...well done to the medical staff. Congrats to the new mommy!

  • shelley.vorster.9 - 2012-09-11 12:35

    LOl But of course they wont agree to it - They dont want to be held responsible for anything. wonder happens in the canteens when the power goes out?

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-09-11 12:39

    The outages may not be hospitals fault-however the lack of back up generators is!!!! God help all those who are not fortunate enough to have medical aid and fall sick. This is the fate which awaits them!

  • mknnko003 - 2012-09-11 12:44

    Wow this is touching...well done to the doctors. I cannot say much about the obvious (Incompetency).

  • rockafella.funksatar - 2012-09-11 12:50

    im sure it was a samsung

      cya.ngoma - 2012-09-11 12:57

      Or a Nokia

  • jobho.maguni - 2012-09-11 12:54

    Dear South African taxpayers, speaking on behalf of the government, I would like to apologise for the eeh minor eeh incident reported here. Eeh as you are all aware eeh the money to buy the eeh transfomers ooh sorry the eeh generators is tied up in an investigation of the president's eeh jet, the other money was used to pay for eeh Selebi's legals fee. Cde Cele is yet to re-imburse some of the money he used to eeh buy that police helipad again sorry helicopter. We wiil squeeze the money left over from Inkandla to buy some more batteries for the torches. thank you very much to the patriotic doctors who devoted their time and effort to keep South Africa a great place. We will eeh eeh eeh OK I will give you a clear update once I have spoken to my superiors after Mangaung because there is no crisis here

      steve.elske.7 - 2012-09-11 13:09

      Mr Minister - Steve from News24 What about the article published on news 24 earlier this week that hospitals were under spending on their allotted budget to the tune of about R300 million?

      steve.elske.7 - 2012-09-11 13:20

      If i could muster up support and call for a strike in an industry what would happen to me?

      jobho.maguni - 2012-09-11 13:26

      Ah Steve you finally left *beep*bank as you know we used that money for the sports minister to get to the 2012 London Olympiads and the balance we are busy building a palace for King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu

  • J.D. - 2012-09-11 12:54


  • ian.hele - 2012-09-11 12:56

    Are they not meant to have a back up emergency generator

      don.quioxte.3 - 2012-09-11 13:24

      The surgeon on the radio said they do not work anymore. I wonder why I am not surprised.

  • Donovan Gouws - 2012-09-11 12:58

    I am at a loss for words but I geuss miracles do happen.

  • marvin.fortuin - 2012-09-11 13:00

    Job well done to the doctors and nurses of that hospital, but for the other party? WTF!

  • Tim Elliott - 2012-09-11 13:01

    How much worse can it get?The endless denials from the incompetents in charge is pathetic!Cry the beloved country.

  • desertratbkf - 2012-09-11 13:02

    These thugs have destroyed everything! Where the F*** was backup generators? Hospital management must be held accountable for this! Fire them!

  • steve.elske.7 - 2012-09-11 13:03

    Yes but the hospital is responsible for the back up generators to kick in, in case of a power failure. I have been in theatre when the lights go out and a back up generator is supposed to kick in. It happens.

  • rato.lekhula - 2012-09-11 13:06

    what happened to generators that should kick in immediately when the power goes off?

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-09-11 13:13

      It seemed as if the back up generators did not work (for a while), maybe it was also a Tenderpreneurs failure?

  • mncedi - 2012-09-11 13:08

    Congrats to the new parents and a job well done by the medical staff! Well it shuld be an answer to our health minister who is been quoted as saying. South Africans are paying to much for health care, perhaps there is no alternative the fearing for incidences like this which is not only a harzard to the baby but to the doctor and the mother as well considering the Hiv which us ripe!

      lorain.maseko - 2012-09-11 13:46

      This is exactly why medical Aids are robbing us blind becuase they know we dont have a choice,it's either you pay their exorbitant fees or you take your chances with this sort of thing.

  • christopher.m.lowe - 2012-09-11 13:08

    So, Jacob Zuma, it has come to this? Will the last person to leave SA please switch off the lights. Oh dear, they're out already. A better life for all? Pfffft!!!

  • toinzelle.slabbert - 2012-09-11 13:13

    where are the hospitals back-up generators???

  • nrgx.nrg - 2012-09-11 13:14

    "The power outages cannot be blamed on the hospital" - that is true, but blame CAN AND SHOULD BE PLACED ON THE HOSPITAL for not having back up generators! Top form doctors and nurses!

  • di.hingley - 2012-09-11 13:21

    True South Africans make a plan....well done guys.

  • luvo.luvos - 2012-09-11 13:24

    Now this is a gem of a story. Operating on a patient with a cellphone light?? I once did a braai with only the cellphone light on after a power outage.

  • don.quioxte.3 - 2012-09-11 13:24

    DENY DENY and insult us is all these cretins can do. FFS!!!

  • irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-09-11 13:39

    Viva cANCer Viva. Yet another disaster that citizens have had to overcome in spite of you. cANCer and all it's supporters should hang their heads in shame.

  • byron.jay.37 - 2012-09-11 13:42

    Life is beautiful.

  • Shibe McPheme - 2012-09-11 14:52

    don't they witnesses, like the father of the baby aor anyone who was around?!?

  • marli.eisern - 2012-09-11 20:44

    Well done! The staff know what they are doing and are capable to do their work under appalling working conditions. Actually staff and doctors must now be trained to work under such "standard" and remote conditions as modus operandi in SA as we need not expect that condition will or may improve under current policy makers and management.

  • Marianne.v.d.Walt - 2012-09-11 20:50

    Viva cANCer Viva. Cry my beloved country! The docters and staff is a blessing!!!

  • ron.samuels.129 - 2012-09-19 03:21

    how is that possible?Did Zuma the clown not insist that service delivery is exellent in SA?

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