Baby on ARVs after mistake

2016-04-18 13:31

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Pietermaritzburg - A botched medical treatment at a prominent Pietermaritzburg private hospital has resulted in a baby having to be put on ARVs, with the parents now seeking legal action.

The parents, a Northdale couple who cannot be named to protect the identity of their now 14-month-old baby girl, are suing the MediClinic Hospital for medical negligence after a professional nurse allegedly injected their baby with a non-sterile needle.

According to the parents, the nurse administering an antibiotic to the baby “mistakenly” cut a female caregiver on the hand with the needle and, instead of immediately changing the apparatus, continued to administer the medication.

The baby, who was admitted to the hospital in February this year for bronchopneumonia, was immediately put on antiretrovirals (ARVs) and must now undergo frequent HIV tests at different window periods which, according to the family, is causing immense stress.

The Witness sent several questions to MediClinic, which declined to comment, citing patient confidentiality.

“MediClinic has engaged with the parents extensively with regards to this matter and with a view to maintaining patient confidentiality will continue to do so towards finding a resolution,” said spokesperson Reshnee Beekrum.

Speaking to The Witness last week, the baby’s parents described their four-day long ordeal and the hardship that came after not knowing if their baby was HIV-positive.

The father said the baby was admitted to the hospital in February and put on an antibiotic drip, but her foot had become swollen on the third day of the treatment.

Before a second drip could be administered, their paediatrician advised that the baby receive an anti­biotic injection. It is believed the nurse returned with a caregiver to administer the jab, after applying a local anaesthetic in cream form.

“Baby was asleep and the nurse asked if we would like the procedure done in the ward where we were sitting, or in a procedure room. I agreed to do it there as my baby had had a strenuous week and needed all the rest she could get,” the mother said.

“The nurse stretched out my baby’s skin and was about to inject her when I heard the caregiver say ‘ouch’. The nurse told her she was sorry and continued to inject my baby. I was mostly worried about my baby and my eyes were fixed on her, so I did not see what had happened,” the mother said.

“I thought she [the nurse] had trod on the caregiver’s foot. At a hospital of this calibre, you do not suspect anything out of the ordinary.”

The mother then saw the blood oozing from the caregiver’s right hand.

She said she became frantic at the sight and immediately asked the nurse if she had pricked the caregiver with the same needle she had used to administer the antibiotics.

“The nurse clicked her tongue at me and denied it, but when I asked the caregiver she apologised and said she was poked and did not know why the nurse had not discarded the needle,” the mother said.

The parents contacted senior managers and the baby was put onto ARVs. She was discharged a few days later after testing negative for HIV in a rapid test.

“She had to be taken off the antibiotics when she was put on ARVs so she was discharged without healing completely. We believe she had an allergic reaction to the ARVs, which caused a rash that lasted two weeks as well.”

The mother said the baby must now go for HIV testing every three months for one year.

“The first rapid test may be negative, but there still is a chance [that the baby could be HIV-positive] and we have to live with the burden of not knowing …” the mother said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  health

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