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Cape Town - A Belhar mother has accused two city health facilities of negligence after she and her newborn baby had to be admitted to hospital.
Lejuan Le-Fleur, 20, said not only were staff at Tygerberg Hospital negligent by leaving a hand-towel-sized gauze swab in her womb after she gave birth in August, but staff at Chestnut Clinic in Belhar were also negligent by giving her two-week-old infant an inoculation meant for older babies.
Her baby, Carla-Joy, was admitted to Tygerberg Hospital after she had “a seizure” a few days after she had been given several vaccines.
The vaccines, which are meant to be given at six weeks, included oral rotavirus and polio drops and three injections that prevent infections, including hepatitis B and pneumococcal diseases such as meningitis and tetanus.
The mother claims that a day after her baby had been admitted, she too was admitted to the same hospital after developing an infection from the dressing, which had been left in her womb for three weeks.
Tygerberg Hospital neither denied nor admitted the allegations, with the provincial Health Department spokeswoman, Faiza Steyn, saying the hospital management was investigating the matter.
The City of Cape Town head of health, Dr Zandile Mahlangu, said the immunisation that was given by the city clinic at an incorrect age was “deeply regrettable and (is a) very rare occurrence”.
But Le-Fleur is livid, saying that nurses continued to ignore her symptoms of infection despite her reporting it more than once.
When she complained of sharp abdominal pains, a foul smell and a pale face, staff at the Bishop Lavis Maternity and Obstetrics Unit nurses allegedly said it was not serious.
“They just gave me more salt and a Betadine solution (an antiseptic) and said I must go home and wash with the salt water. I did all of that, but the pain wouldn’t go away.
“I knew something was definitely wrong… I was getting paler by the day and the abdominal pain was intensifying.
“I went to Tygerberg, and nurses there also said there was nothing wrong,” she said.
Only after she became weak while looking after her baby at Tygerberg did a paediatrician notice how ill she was and referred her back to the maternity unit. After medical examinations the dressing was removed.