Pretoria - The Health Department says it will investigate the botched childbirth procedure that has left a Pretoria woman unable to control her bladder or bowel movement.
The matter was brought to the attention of health authorities by the Pretoria News.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I am literally like a child now; I often pee on myself. I also cannot control my natural bowel movements, something even my three-year-old son has mastered.”
The 21-year-old single mother from Hammanskraal said she had been robbed of her youth, life and a chance to fend for herself and provide for her son.
She asked not to be identified to avoid victimisation as she was still seeking further medical assistance.
Her ordeal began after she gave birth at Jubilee Hospital in Hammanskraal in April 2014. “The hospital has messed up my entire future.
"I can’t hang out with my friends, nor go to school or work because I don’t want to end up being a laughing stock,” she alleged.
According to her, a procedure to assist her when she gave birth left her with lasting problems - and regular visits to the hospital had not helped her cause.
Her nine months of pregnancy were smooth, she said, and she had no complications until it was time to give birth. “Throughout my pregnancy I went for my regular check-ups at a nearby clinic and everything was fine.
“But when I was due to give birth the clinic transferred me to Jubilee Hospital, saying my baby was too big,” she said.
The delivery room nurse told her she was going to perform an episiotomy (a surgical cut in the muscular area between the vagina and the anus to enlarge the vaginal opening) and which assists in the process of giving birth.
But little did she know that that April procedure was the beginning of her nightmare, she claimed. “After my baby was delivered the nurse stitched me up, and then told me her own stitches were not done properly. She then undid them and got a doctor to redo them.”
Her face contorted in pain and anger when she explained how she complained that the stitching process had been painful. “They said those were the consequences of having a baby at a young age, so I lay there and endured the pain.”
She was 17 at the time.
“In May of that year, I felt something burning in my vagina and when I checked I found faeces on my underwear.
"I was confused and went to the clinic where the nurse checked me and told me I had a gapped episiotomy and advised that I go back to the hospital.”
She was then booked into the hospital theatre in August to “close the gap”, and told all her problems were now over.
She was excited as she went home to take care of her newborn baby, but soon the problem occurred again.
She went back to the hospital and told them about it, but she claimed that three years on, she had not been given any medical attention, an explanation or a referral to another facility.
The woman also claimed that the hospital had never contacted her in-between her visits. “Whenever I go to the hospital I am told they are too busy to see me and that I should leave my number,” she said.
The young mother alleged that due to the hospital’s mistake, she could no longer control the release of urine and feaces.
This not only embarrassed her, but forced her to become a recluse, she said.
She recalled how she once attempted to take her own life. “I feel damaged, useless and helpless. There was a time when I overdosed on pills when my family was not around, but unfortunately I threw up instead of dying
“I know it is a bad thing to do especially now that I have a child, but what future am I going to give him?”
She said not only had the complication messed up her future, but it also affected her sexually. “I broke up with the father of my child because I was too embarrassed to tell him my condition. I doubt I will ever be able to get into another relationship because I am damaged.”
She said she had no wish to have another child because of the suffering she had already endured.
All she wanted, she pleaded, was for the problem to be fixed so she could resume a normal life like others her age and continue with her studies. She also wants to give her son the life she always dreamt of.