Dead baby’s parents get 10 minutes

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PRETORIA Gardens couple Marco Brits and Janine Meiring yesterday left a meeting with Kalafong Hospital management about the death of their newborn baby almost a month ago, with very little satisfaction and no reassurance of accountability.

The couple saw hospital chief executive Lancelot Phalatsi, three heads of department and a lawyer, whose presence, they believe, influenced the meeting and discouraged any formal discussions.

“The meeting lasted no more than 10 minutes.

“The CEO gave his condolences and confirmed that an investigation was under way,” Brits said after the meeting.

They were invited to the meeting this week after their story made headlines. The couple have now engaged lawyers.

The 33-year-old parents arrived at the hospital on Christmas Eve, with Meiring 27 weeks pregnant and in labour.

They say they were shunted around by staff, who refused to acknowledge her claims of being in advanced labour, and were denied a wheelchair.

At the maternity ward she was told there were no beds available, and when she was eventually examined by nurses and a doctor, her claim that her baby was about to be born was denied.

The doctor who performed a scan also said she was wrong and told her to go back to the ward. As she walked away from the bed, she felt her baby crown and slide out onto the floor.

He bounced and the umbilical cord broke.

She was later told that the child, named Donavan, was critical, and then that he had died, either from being prematurely born; haemorrhaging from the broken umbilical cord; head trauma from the fall; infection; or because of underdeveloped lungs.

To add to their woes, Donavan’s death certificates were full of errors – on one he was said to have been stillborn; another gave his race as black; the mother’s surname was wrong on another; and, on one, cause of death was given as asphyxia.

The last gave the cause of death as natural.

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