Woman dies from infection 10 days after giving birth

2019-07-22 10:46
Bradley Barnard and Patricia Mtshali at their baby shower. They were waiting for the arrival of their child so that they could begin a new chapter in their lives.

Bradley Barnard and Patricia Mtshali at their baby shower. They were waiting for the arrival of their child so that they could begin a new chapter in their lives.

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They extended their house, got their nursery ready and happily awaited the birth of their first child together.

The plan was that after the baby was born, Bradley Barnard and Patricia Mtshali of Edendale were going to tie the knot. On March 5, the ecstatic couple welcomed their beautiful, healthy baby girl into the world.

Ten days later, Mtshali died.

Barnard and members of their families claim that doctors who operated on Mtshali told them that part of the placenta had been left inside her when the baby was born. It turned septic, resulting in her death.

The family have now got attorney Silvia da Silva to take on their case. She said it appears Mtshali’s death was as a result of medical negligence.

Barnard recalled the pain the love of his life felt after giving birth naturally.

“She complained about stomach pain. Even though she didn’t feel well, she was discharged,” he said.

However, the pain persisted. She could not even carry the baby for long periods of time because of this. Barnard said on March 10, they realised that the pain was not going to disappear.

“Patricia started breathing heavily and would feel hot or cold,” he said.

On that Sunday, Mtshali went to a nearby clinic and was given a referral letter to Edendale Hospital. The next day, she and Barnard sat in a queue for almost four hours, only to discover that the referral date was March 12.

They left and returned the next day.

The wait was just as long. A doctor performed an ultrasound on Mtshali and found nothing wrong. She prescribed antibiotics and pain killers, said Barnard.

However, the medication did nothing to alleviate the pain. On March 14, Mtshali went back to the hospital. This time she was admitted to the emergency room. That night, she was transferred to the intensive care unit, without the family being informed, said Barnard.

The next day, he said, the family were told Mtshali was very sick and that “she came to hospital too late”.

They were told she had an infection in her womb and needed an operation to save her life. “She had to wait between six to eight hours for blood, before the operation could take place,” he said.

Just before 6 pm, they learnt that Mtshali had died.

Barnard’s sister, who is a nurse at a private hospital and did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said the family were told that there was fluid left in Mtshali’s abdominal cavity. Part of the placenta was left in the womb.

She said the family were promised counselling and redress, but no one from the hospital has since made contact with them.

Barnard has been badly affected by the death of his love, said his sister.

“I have lost all faith in government hospitals. If you can’t afford medical aid, you should stay at home and die. We are all just so hurt. Patricia has become another statistic,” she said.

Health Department spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda said: “Maternal and child health are among the top priorities of the department. The department is therefore — without prejudice — extremely concerned by the allegations, and saddened by the passing away of one of its patients, who had recently had a baby. Although the department is prohibited from divulging confidential clinical details of any patient, the department can confirm that this matter is being reviewed and analysed by clinicians at head office. The outcome of that process will determine the way forward.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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