They told me my womb was cleaning itself – another mom claims Tshwane clinic turned her away

2019-07-07 07:28
Hospital ward. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Hospital ward. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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Another woman has come forward with her experience of giving birth shortly after nurses allegedly turned her away at Stanza Bopape Community Health Centre in Tshwane.

The 23-year-old, who asked not to be identified because she fears health officials will target her and her baby boy, said her first experience of going into labour was made worse by the way she was treated last month.

She claimed that even though she was in pain and bleeding, nurses at the health centre told her to go home and gave a variety of excuses.

"They assessed me and told me my womb was cleaning itself. I saw blood but they said there is no baby coming out here so I must go back home," she said.

"They also told me the baby is too big and they don't have a doctor. They told me lots of stories."

Despite these claims, she decided to head to another facility and was holding her healthy baby just an hour or so later, she said.

South Africans reacted with outrage after it emerged that a woman went into labour outside the health centre, after she was apparently turned away last weekend.

Tshwane Health District chief director Mothomone Pitsi found out the woman was allegedly not examined and told to go to Mamelodi Hospital. But she realised she would not make it and ended up giving birth at the gate.

According to African News Agency, the clinic's nurses told the patient that because she was in her 50s, they couldn't help her and she had to go to the hospital.

The Gauteng health department is currently investigating that case.

News24 sent an enquiry to the health department, sharing the young mother's plight and her details.

Pitsi said in response that the matter had not been brought the attention of the Tshwane health district until now.

"Now that we have received the details of the patient and possible dates when the incident is alleged to have occurred, the complainant will be contacted and the matter investigated further as a separate matter," he said.

"No woman may be turned away when seeking help at any health facility. She needs to be attended to, evaluated and examined. Thereafter the clinician attending to the patient should develop a treatment plan, which should be discussed with the patient and agreed [on]."

The first-time mother who spoke to News24, said it felt as though the nurses didn't want to help her.

"I was in a lot of pain. I decided to go to dag hospital (Mamelodi Day Hospital)."

Thankfully, her aunt had not been working that day and was able to drive her to the health centre in the early hours of the morning and then to the hospital.

"She went inside [Stanza Bopape centre] and they checked her. The sister told her the womb was cleaning itself. I asked her how it is possible?" the aunt said.

"They told her she must go back home and I said no, we can't, and I took her to the day hospital. She was bleeding furiously."

The young mother said that when she told the nurses at the day hospital where she had come from, they started complaining.

"They said: 'We are very tired of Stanza Bopape. They send everybody here.'"

The aunt said she was furious about how her niece was treated.

"It is wrong. It means that they don't know what they are doing."

Pitsi said they strongly condemned any conduct that was not in line with normal practice and endangered the lives of patients and the public.

He explained that a community health centre or a midwife obstetric unit provided basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care for cases, such as low-risk deliveries.

Those who have any risk, who need a higher level of care, will be transferred by ambulance to the appropriate level of hospital, he said.

"We would like to reassure the public to continue to use clinics and community health centres for their antenatal care; [and] use the community health centres and midwife obstetric units for their deliveries," said Pitsi.

"There are capable health professionals in these facilities to deliver quality health services. We would also like to express our apologies to the public for the mishaps that have occurred at the hands of a few of our staff members who have not acted in line with normal practice."

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