Woman sues state after horrific birth

2011-07-19 19:17

Johannesburg - A Pretoria woman is suing the state after giving birth allegedly without the assistance of nurses at Sebokeng Hospital in the Vaal Triangle, law firm CP van Zyl Attorneys said on Tuesday.

Reservations clerk Bridget Moleboheng claims she was forced to lie in her own blood for six hours and was refused assistance by nurses in December last year.

"The nurses kept screaming at me that I should keep quiet. At this point the baby was being born and still I was being ignored," she said in a statement, issued by the law firm.

"While I was in agony and scared to push on my own, the nurses left the ward then went to sit at the corridor and continued chatting and laughing." After giving birth, Moleboheng claims she was not allowed to hold or breastfeed her baby boy.

Gauteng health department spokesperson Simon Zwane said it was the first he had heard of the case.

"Every citizen has a right to recourse in court if they feel they have not been treated appropriately.

"We will await the papers from the lawyers and once all the facts have been accessed, we will decide whether to defend the matter."

The law firm's consultant Sunelle van Heerden said Moleboheng was suing the state for "substantial damages sustained".

In the statement, Van Heerden said the incident was an everyday occurrence at certain state hospitals, and the only way to change it was through legal means.

"It is clear that government lacks the will to change the horrendous conditions in state hospitals and ultimately it is left to the public to seek legal advice."

  • Shadoz - 2011-07-19 19:26

    Fire these nurses. They are terriable people and don't deserve to be nurses. They must GO!!! Disgusting how people and act the way they do.

      Warren - 2011-07-19 19:58

      This gang does not deserve to be called nurses or people. You need to have compassion to qualify for those descriptions!!!

      tryanything - 2011-07-19 20:40

      If I was mr Simon Zwane I would be getting my whip out and cracking it .....not waiting for some legal papers... we are a nation of waiters always waiting for for somebody to do the job for us......

      tryanything - 2011-07-19 21:03

      Only thing Zwane is waiting for is another incident like this

      BigDaddyZA - 2011-07-19 21:15

      I guess I've been lucky, as I found the level of service at Steve Biko hospital excellent. However, this is very disturbing news and should be investigated and prosecuted to the full if found to be true ...

      Krush - 2011-07-20 06:12

      They are no different to any of the other government workers.

      Jezabbela - 2011-07-20 07:32

      @BigDaddyZA, goes to show that NOT all government hospitals are like this one. I gave birth at Mowbray Maternity Hosp and the nurses assisting me were excellent. A cousin of mine was in a car accident last year and admitted to Groote Schuur for 4 months, 2 of which he was in intensive care, again, I can never thank the Doctors and Nurses enough for what they did for him.

      morentebo - 2011-07-20 08:14

      worst part, they are women themselves, telling you to keep quite when in labour, like they were quite when they gave birth disgusting bitches,and the government is not gonna fire them

      Snoopy88 - 2011-07-20 09:53

      Well that's just the thing.. they are just there to collect their pay. Its not a calling for them, just a job. Same thing with many of our useless teachers. Good for her! I hope she gets paid a lot of money and these women are named and shamed. What an awful thing to have happened when you are at your most vulnerable.. that's going to scar her for the rest of her life! Heartless, utterly heartless!

  • tryanything - 2011-07-19 19:26

    Are we surprised at all?? It is clear that the government lacks the ability to change this never mind the will..

  • Juggernaut - 2011-07-19 19:38

    Mindboggling if true.

  • Nongoloza - 2011-07-19 19:41

    Absolutely disgusting. Viva NHI Viva What a joke, God help all those who cant afford medical aid, i am not being silly when i say i feel sorry for you guys.

      Snoopy88 - 2011-07-20 09:56

      The scary thing is the private hospitals are so hell bent on making money that they are cutting back on staff to dangerous levels. One midwife in the labour ward dealing with three births at the same time? Someone is going to die and they will just pay the legal costs and carry on as before because its business! Its suppose to be one nurse to one mother all the time...

  • BigMoose - 2011-07-19 19:42


  • Allin - 2011-07-19 19:57

    Why should the taxpayer foot the bill for this?

  • johan - 2011-07-19 19:57


  • darkwing - 2011-07-19 19:58

    Probably interfered with their tea time.

      Liberty - 2011-07-20 01:45

      They can thank their lucky stars they don't work for me. People like these nurses mentioned here would discover what's is like being on the receiving end of a prick having a bad day.

  • Zackery - 2011-07-19 19:59

    I must say, that even though I do not agree with the situation above, being in the medical field myself, I can concur that the govt does not care two hoots about us. Unfortunately, there are huge shortages of staff. Currently I am working in a place where there are only two drs for the whole hospital, my colleague and I. It is seriously overwhelming for us. I do not have time for every patient, and rely on nursing staff a lot, which is outside their "scope of practice". I am very grateful for them. But do find that complaints of this nature, not specific to this one, are very selfish, when considering the greater context of service.

      Wiseoldman - 2011-07-19 20:43

      Zackery - You say " But do find that complaints of this nature, not specific to this one, are very selfish, when considering the greater context of service." - What exactly are the "greater context of service" that makes it selfish to complain about incidents of this nature, where duties are neglected in favour of "laughing and chatting outside" and where qualified nursing staff are allowed to humiliate patients like this? Since when does a shortage of medical and nursing staff entitle medical personnel to be rude and inhumane? The fact that they were laughing and chatting outside, whilst a partient needed them, disqualifies the lame excuse that they are over loaded. This is shocking. If you said that the problem is wider than the involved nursing personel's work ethic, and that it rather was a systemic failure, with hospital management, doctors and staff being negligent in allowing this behavior (and even trying to defend it), it would have been closer to accurate.

      Wired - 2011-07-19 20:47

      Hi Zack, agreed there is a problem with lack of staff, but in this case, there was not. The nurses chose to sit on their asses outside and have a good chat and laugh while a mother and child could have both lost their lives. Those nurses duty is to prevent death in any little way they possibly know. Clearly they have no intention of doing what theyre paid to do, so they should be fired and allowed their positions to a few of those millions of jobless people out there. Nurses and teachers in this country have pathetic reputations just for reasons like this.. they want to have thier salary every month, but dont give a crap about people theyre meant to help. Until someone wakes up in government and puts their foot down, this attitude will never change, and you will always be struggling for help, or at least until youre in the private field. I know that youre not well paid as a Doctor in the government hospitals so Good luck and thank you for your efforts.

      Liberale - 2011-07-19 21:14

      I do not know what happened at Sebokeng and neither does anyone else commenting here!!! What I do know is that people wont let a little exageration stand in the way of a good story!! I work in an Obstetric department in a government hospital in Mpumalanga and ALL my niurses are helpfull, friendly and excellent at their jobs. Giving birth is traumatic to everyone and I do not deny that horror stories do happen, but with firms like van Zyl promising to work for free if the court case is lost, I suspect people will get greedy and we as dr's will be spending more time in court than in our wards... Just remember there will allways be two sides to a story esp when there's "substantial" amounts to be made!!!

      Snoopy88 - 2011-07-20 10:33

      You guys are unbelievable and totally missing the point.. This woman was traumatised enough to actually go to court about it. To have a very private, what was suppose to be a wonderful experience now out there for the whole world to disect and pass judgement on. That's your starting point and its not 'exageration' or 'selfish' and most definitely not about money or the 'greater context of service'for her.. Of course your nurses dance around you! You don't know what they do when you're not there. I hope she takes that hospital to the cleaners so that it will be an example for all other hospital administrations. Maybe its the only way we will have accountability and morality from the bottom up - If you hit them where it really hurts! Patients in government hospitals are entitled to the same level of basic care and compassion that those of us who can afford private health care enjoy and pay through the nose for. I demand at least that for the taxes I pay and it doesn't cost anything to see patients as individual humans!

  • jjacgilbert - 2011-07-19 20:00

    Most people will not even allow an animal to suffer like this. What is wrong with some people?

  • riaan74 - 2011-07-19 20:06

    And most likely did the patient vote for the ANC!

      Jezabbela - 2011-07-20 07:22

      you have issues AND are very ignorant if you think every black person votes for the ANC.

  • TamaraSays - 2011-07-19 20:14

    Same thing happened to a friend of mine. It wasn't her first child, so she KNEW when it was coming, but she was still made to sit in the waiting room, when she should have been 'pushing.' Her child is okay now - but only after expensive specialists, and lots of physio. Thing is, the only reason she ever went to Tygerberg is that her private gynae advised her too, because she is diabetic, and they were worried that she might need access to the NICU. Epic fail.

  • iT@xpayer - 2011-07-19 20:21

    The money that Malema and company is stealing in order to live like a "capitalist bastard" should be used to get our disgusting state hospitals in order.

  • ivan - 2011-07-19 20:35

    Some of the nurses are worst than animals. Baboons care for each member of the pack. Fire them.

  • JanSlim - 2011-07-19 20:42

    This is so sad, nursing is obviously not their calling, I agree with some of the comments here these people are lazy, don’t care about their fellow human beings just want to collect their salaries and do nothing in the process. And the hospital management is waiting for legal action, no talk of disciplinary actions or anything similar. Off course they know who was on duty, who is responsible but they don’t care. There is an endemic problem with healthcare in SA, no NIH or anything other than management is going to solve that. Make an example of these inhuman nurses, parade them in court, on TV and let’s see how long this kind of thing will last!

  • Janine - 2011-07-19 23:23

    I had a miscarriage in the general hospital in Vanderbijlpark in 1982. The nurses refused to change my bedding until the doctor had been to see how much I had bled. Nothing has changed - sadly.

      Jezabbela - 2011-07-20 07:23

      Gosh!!! How traumatic....

  • Fredster69 - 2011-07-20 07:22

    Good for you, sue them stukkend

  • chris.debeer1 - 2011-07-20 07:25

    Well I have been on numours occations to Ngewalazana and Albert Lethuli and in all cases the staff was excellent so much so that I even with my medical aid would not mind going their staff are helpfull concerning and very proffesional. Must be the bad apple hospital she got their.

  • The_gr8_1 - 2011-07-20 08:01

    I've heard horror stories as well about goverment hospital but I must say when my son was referred to Leratong's children's ward he received excellent care. It was not first class like private but it was not horrific either.

  • Derrick - 2011-07-20 08:42

    And now for the new health system...

  • cromagnon - 2011-07-20 08:42

    Holy crap, this must have been very traumatic. Like Nongoloza said :"God help those who cant afford medical aid"

  • cat8fish - 2011-07-20 09:18

    i actually want to cry coz i went through a similar experience that caused me to miscarry at Leratong Hospital in soweto. my heart goes to Bridget

  • Michi2 - 2011-07-20 09:29

    And I'll say it again - you can take them out of the bush ......

  • Sweet p - 2011-07-20 09:30

    Same thing happened to me in middelburg hospital in 2006 and the baby was stillborn, good luck sisi, hope you win the case

  • snickertates - 2011-07-20 09:47

    It truly is sad when what should be your happiest moment is ruined by the ill-treatment of others. This woman should have been ecstatic, jubilant but instead was not even allowed to hold her baby. This isn't just indifference, this is cruelty! These 'nurses" should be fired immediately. I hope they are never employed again!

  • Johan Horn - 2011-07-20 09:55

    They should make it a law that ALL government employees, including the president, can ONLY go to state hospitals. You'll see how quickly they get whipped into shape then! Appalling!

  • Michelle - 2011-07-20 09:58

    I had a similar experience 8 years ago at another state hospital in Gauteng. I was in one ward and then a nurse would come and say OK you are ready to give birth and I had to walk to another ward. Getting there I was checked by another nurse who then decided - no - not ready - go back to your previous ward. This happened about 3 times that I had to walk up and down while in labour. Eventually one of my bosses, who is also a Dr, phoned the hospital and knew another Dr there who came to check on me. I was immediately sent for an emergency caesarian. Had to stay there three days, also on bedding that still had my blood on. I never want to experience anything like that again. Then people ask me why I dont want anymore children??

  • Samantha - 2011-07-20 10:14

    in sasolburg hospital, one of my friends sister was in for delivering a baby she went in the sunday morning about 2oclock the morning and by monday the baby was still not delivered, when i called the nurse she told me if the baby dies it dies there is nothing that they could do, i demanded to speak to the doctor as i wanted answers, the doctor came in aroung 10 o clock to do rounds in my converstaion with her she treatend to lock me up because i was too nosy and demanding, and i am not a doctor i dont understand the delivery process, i lost it and told her if that baby or that mother does not survive ill spill the beans on all the people that i know that has lost their babies in that hospital. half an hour later the patient was in theatre getting a c section, after she wens home the friends sister said that one of the nurses came to her and said that she can be lucky that a white b#tch has her back, and treated her poorly because of the call i made, i am a proud white b#tch who saved a black baby boy, i see no colour i see people and sasolburg hospital is one of the poorest hospitals in south africa

      Snoopy88 - 2011-07-20 10:46

      Samantha, you have my utmost respect for taking a stand. You saved their lives. Our nanny's little grandson stood in line at a clinic since 4am deathly ill. They gave her panados when she finally got to see someone hours later... I called friends and Red Cross Children's hospital and they rushed him over there. The clinic sells the 'free' government formula milk at a spaza nearby or use it in their coffee...

  • - 2011-07-20 10:30

    Why wait till now, did she only remember her "ordeal" now?Its a long way since December.Complications?

      Snoopy88 - 2011-07-20 10:38

      Um.. she was a little busy with her baby?? Recovering from the psychological trauma she was subjected to? Finding the right people who could take this further? - 2011-07-20 12:46

      Hope you believe what you wrote. Me think the lady is seeing the cashcow? or somebody is pointing her in that direction,almost 8 months post facto.

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