Durban - After 21 days of hope, the last of the Zondi quintuplets died – from a lung haemorrhage and intestinal infection.
Doctor Thasiga Reddy, a paediatrician and pulmonologist at the Isipingo Medical Towers hospital, said the last surviving baby girl had failed to respond to antibiotic treatment and died two weeks ago.
“We tried everything to stabilise her, but unfortunately it did not work. She died while being incubated.
“She was kept in an oscillator machine to support her with oxygen,” he said.
“Her weight had not improved from 570 grams.”
Reddy said the others, three girls and a boy, died three days after they were born. They suffered similar multiple illnesses – including a lung haemorrhage, which resulted in breathing difficulties.
“After their birth they were also quickly incubated,” he said. Reddy attributed the deaths of the quintuplets to their premature birth.
Thembelihle Zondi, 34, of kwaXimba near Cato Ridge, gave birth at 26 weeks by Caesarean section on January 16.
“They (the babies) were born long before time. To have five babies delivered at once was a major task. We had one-and-a-half hours to prepare.
“We had awoken most staff to come to the hospital. We tried to hold off the delivery, but it was not possible. The mother had bled profusely.”
When they arrived, Reddy said, “they were much smaller than we had anticipated.
“We had hoped they would be 700 – 800 grams. They were nowhere near that. It was shocking.
“The first baby died an hour after birth. She suffered an air leak in the lung. She weighed only 570 grams,” Reddy said.
He added that the lone boy among the quins looked much stronger than the girls, despite his bruises. But he soon developed a lung haemorrhage.
The hospital was buzzing with excitement when the babies were born, but the mood became sombre after four quintuplets died in the space of three days.
Isipingo Medical Towers spokeswoman, Nomfundo Nhlumayo, said
: “The staff has been left deeply saddened by these deaths as it had brought so much excitement in the hospital.”
The Zondis declined to comment.