Picture: Willem Law/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - A young Milnerton mother has vowed never to have children again after her first childbirth experience at Somerset Hospital left her traumatised and with loose stitches.

The 29-year-old mother, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, said she gave birth at the facility last month and treatment by staff was appalling.

She arrived at the hospital at 8pm after her labour began at home and after delivering her baby at around 1.30am she was told to sit in the feeding room to wait for about 10 hours for a bed that never came.

“The only time I got a bed was when I was going to push and after the baby came the nurse handed him to me and told me to clean him up and that they needed the bed. I was sent to the feeding room and waited on a chair and kept being told that a bed is coming.”

She said she was discharged at around lunchtime the same day without ever getting a bed.

“I basically spent my labour by myself with my husband. Then they came and just told me you need to push when the baby was coming. They did not give me any assistance in terms of feeding and changing the baby, how to care for the umbilical cord.

"My baby was just handed to me. They gave him to me on the cloth I birthed on and we went to the feeding room. If my mother was not there, I have no idea what I would have done.

“I was in pain. Based on the experience I don’t want any more children,” she said.

A few days later her stitches started coming apart and she opted to go to her local clinic to have them looked at as she was scared to return to Somerset.

Health Department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said the hospital had not been made aware of the incident.

“These allegations are seen in a serious light and as such we ask the patient to contact the hospital so the alleged incident can be reviewed.

"It's imperative for clients who are not satisfied with the service or have a concern to raise it immediately with the hospital chief executive or quality assurance manager to investigate."

After multiple attempts for answers, Van der Heever eventually said there was no shortage of maternity beds.

The hospital has eight beds in its labour ward and eight chairs for overflow after delivery. There are 23 beds in the antenatal ward for patients not fully in labour yet and 35 postnatal beds for patients after delivery.

If patients have already left a health facility and are not satisfied with the services, they can call the contact centre on 086 014 2142, send an email to [email protected] or send a "please call me" to 079 769 1207.