A Tshwane District Hospital doctor faces disciplinary action for turning away a sick, dehydrated and crying baby who had been brought to the hospital.
Hours later, the baby was admitted to emergency care and later transferred to Steve Biko Academic Hospital where she died four days later.
Last month Baby Kai Nkasana’s parents had rushed her back to the hospital, where she had been treated for diarrhoea as her condition had not improved and other complications had set in.
The attending doctor had asked them why they had come back and told them that crying babies were to be comforted at home instead of being rushed to hospital, they said.
Hours later, Baby Kai had seizures. When she was again brought back to the hospital, emergency care was administered. She was later transferred to Steve Biko for specialised intensive care.
On a Tuesday – the day she turned three weeks, Kai was declared brain dead and the next afternoon, after discussions with her parents, medical staff switched off her life support.
The parents had already laid a complaint with the hospital’s quality assurance department. After the baby’s death they demanded an investigation by hospital management. Feedback from the investigation was given to the Nkasana family on Monday, in a meeting the family labelled “a waste of time”.
The baby’s grandmother Maureen Nkasana said: “They had no document. Instead they told us there’d been no fault in the doctor’s clinical decision not to treat Kai.”
Maureen said the family had left the meeting feeling despondent and insulted: “We plan to take this much further. We want the minister to hear about the neglect that was not acknowledged,” she said.
The hospital’s clinical manager Mpho Motsoane said the doctor’s attitude had been found wanting. “We have reason to believe her attitude had not been professional and as a result we are instituting disciplinary procedures against her.
“We have not closed the case, the labour relations department is still to examine the file to see if the investigation was thorough and fair,” Motsoane said.
She said the department of health’s legal department would also look into the case to examine the handling of the case.
But the family rubbished these claims. “The meeting was baseless, they used the forum to protect the doctor,” said Nkasana. She asked how they could see attitude problems and not neglect when the baby had died, probably as a result of delayed medical attention.