Durban - The death of four of the Zondi quintuplets has cast a pall of gloom over the Isipingo Medical Towers hospital, while their parents have to get to grips with their multiple loss.
Two of the premature babies – a girl and a boy – died on Friday morning and another two girls died on Sunday.
The last of the quintuplets, a girl, is being closely watched by doctors.
Soon after Thembelihle Zondi, 34, of KwaXimba near Cato Ridge, gave birth at 26 weeks by Caesarean section on Thursday, the babies were quickly incubated to help them maintain body temperature.
But the preemies also experienced difficulty in breathing and feeding, and the celebrations over the birth had been tempered by the reality that they were in a critical condition.
Their father, Vusi Zondi, 42, the principal of Mvini Primary School in KwaXimba, confirmed on Friday that two of the babies had died.
“Two of them have passed away. Doctors have told us about their critical condition. My wife has accepted their death,” he said.
“We will have a quick funeral because they were still in their infancy. It will be a private funeral just for the Zondis and relatives.”
Attempts to reach Zondi on Sunday were unsuccessful, but the gynaecologist that helped with the delivery, Dr Sandlasenkosi Zungu, said the four babies had died of pulmonary haemorrhage, caused by premature birth.
“They were born before time. Challenges were great,” Zungu said on Sunday.
“They are just small babies, only weighing a mere 520-550g each. They (had) developed complications such as bleeding into the lungs. We used everything possible to keep them alive, but it seems like we are losing (the fight),” he said.
Isipingo Medical Towers spokeswoman, Nomfundo Nhlumayo, said she had been called to work on Sunday afternoon after the death of the two more babies.
She said the mood at the hospital was sombre.
In June, a 31-year-old woman from Tembisa gave birth to quins, but only three survived as a result of complications related to being born prematurely.