File picture: Debbie Yazbek/Independent Media

Johannesburg - A woman who’s three months away from giving birth, is terrified to return to the same hospital where she lost her baby under traumatic circumstances.

Happiness Soyiyana said a scheduled Caesarean delivery last year, did not happen, which resulted in her baby dying inside of her. She was later shown the infant’s lifeless body, with its neck broken. It was so traumatic that she dreads having to go back to the same hospital to give birth again.

“I watched in horror as the nurse held my dead baby wrapped in a blanket, in her arm. The head was swollen. It kept on dropping as if it was hanging only by the skin of the neck. The nurse struggled to keep the head still,” she said .

For nearly a year Soyiyana, 31, has been battling to get answers about the cause of her baby daughter’s death after carrying her full-term.

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She said her cry for help fell on deaf ears, despite several meetings with the hospital’s quality assurance team and lodging requests with the provincial department for a formal investigation.

The hospital on the other hand, disputes Soyiyana’s allegations and said they handed the matter over to quality assurance at the provincial office in October for further investigation, because she was dissatisfied with their explanation, after carrying out their own investigation

Soyiyana, who is now six months’ pregnant, claims not to have been offered counselling and is now concerned because her local clinic has referred her to Tembisa Hospital for further management of her pregnancy.

“My worry is that the staff there know me and I’ve been warned by a midwife there not to go back, because my baby could be compromised,” she said.

When her waters broke on June 28 last year, Soyiyana drove herself to Tembisa Hospital. She arrived around 7am. The doctor was satisfied with the baby’s heartbeat and she was taken to theatre. She said the doctor had scheduled her for a C-section as she had given birth via C-section before.

“I sat outside the theatre from 12pm. I was in terrible pain. By 3pm I had not been assisted. Another nurse came and took me to the nurses’ tearoom and asked them for help.

“They told her that they were prioritising important patients and that I was not an emergency. I was taken to theatre at 5.15pm and by that time the baby had died, because I was too tired to push it out,” said Soyiyana.

She was woken up from general anesthesic an hour later and a nurse brought her lifeless baby to her.

“She told me that the baby choked from its own stool. My baby’s lips were red and her face swollen. They took the placenta for testing and I was taken back to the ward, where I was kept for seven days,” said Soyiyana.

While there she had to share painkillers with another patient, because the hospital had none. She also received a blood transfusion on the seventh day.

She said no post-mortem was done on her baby, despite questions raised about her death.

Hospital spokesperson Nothando Mdluli rejected some of Soyiyana’s claims. She said assessments done on the baby by a midwife and a doctor when Soyiyana first arrived showed no signs of a heartbeat.

The mother was then taken to theatre.

“The operation was done under anaesthetic and the baby was stillborn.

She said the mother was shown the baby and that the head was not detached, as she claimed.

Mdluli added that the staff had explained to the mother why the baby had died.

“The patient was referred to our social workers for counselling.

“As a way of redressing the situation, our quality assurance department worked on her case and investigations were carried out after her complaint.

“A meeting was scheduled and further explanations given to her.”

Mdluli said the patient was offered further counselling but that she refused.

The Star