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Cape Town - Staff at a local State hospital sent a newborn home with her knee twisted back to front.
In spite of her parents’ concerns, staff at a Cape Flats clinic assured them they had nothing to worry about.
Leon Meyer and his girlfriend Mandiline Butland, 22, were told to massage baby Leondre Meyer’s leg at home and return after six weeks.
But the worried parents decided to get a second opinion. And their worst fears were confirmed when a private doctor informed them their baby was born with a rare condition called Genu Recurvatum or “back knee”.
Back knee is a deformity in the knee joint causing the knee to bend backwards.
When Leondre was born on January 10, she could bend her left leg up towards her chest.
Leon says he noticed something was wrong moments after Mandiline gave birth.
The Steenberg father said he pointed this out to staff at Retreat Community Health Centre who told him it was nothing serious.
“The moment I saw her leg I knew something was wrong,” Leon said.
“But when I told the nurses they said it’s nothing to worry about.”
Days later Leon and Mandiline went back to the hospital where again they were told to massage Leondre’s leg.
“All they said was that her leg only needs to be massaged and after six weeks they will check it again,” he said.
“But anyone could see her leg needed more than a massage.
“When I was born both my kneecaps also faced backwards and doctors treated it the next day.
“Since then I have never had a problem with my legs.”
The couple took their newborn to a private practitioner who referred them to Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
Red Cross spokesperson Lauren O’Connor May said that Leondre was examined on January 16 and referred for an appointment.
“Mandy cried when the doctor told us Leondre needs to be admitted to hospital to reconstruct her leg,” Leon added.
Holding her baby close to her chest, Mandy said staff at the Retreat hospital only told her to come for a routine checkup.
“They didn’t even mention anything about her leg,” the worried mom said.
“I really didn’t know what to do about this until we saw the private doctor.”
But Western Cape Health Department spokesperson Faiza Steyn on Monday night denied hospital staff are guilty of negligence.
“The sister did not advise [the parents] incorrectly. This is not a procedure that requires surgical intervention.”
Little Leondre on Monday underwent her first physiotherapy session.
Her parents are hopeful she will make a full recovery.