Johannesburg - A woman who gave birth by herself in a maternity ward refuses to believe that her twins died immediately after birth, as the hospital claims, and she wants answers.
Nompumelelo Sibiya, 28, is convinced that her children, born prematurely at six months’ gestation on May 19, 2016 at Mamelodi Hospital in Tshwane, are still alive, even though the nurses told her they had died.
“The hospital never gave me my children, so that I could ascertain that they were dead,” a crying Sibiya said.
On that fateful day, Sibiya, who lives in Ekangala near Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, was rushed to Dark City Clinic when she suddenly developed cramps that were unbearable.
“When I arrived at the clinic, the doctor who attended to me said I would be transferred to Mamelodi Hospital (about 60km away). He told me my babies would be fine and that I should take their clothes with me to the hospital,” Sibiya said.
At the time, she said, she was bleeding profusely and her family arrived at the clinic with the infants’ clothes. The ambulance came and took her to the hospital.
But on arrival, she said, she was subjected to humiliation, insults and neglect at the hospital.
“The nurses left me in the labour ward. There was a woman who had just been discharged after she had a miscarriage. The woman helped me get onto the bed. I was in terrible pain and I cried out for help.
“The two nurses came back and started swearing at me. They said I was behaving like I was giving birth for the first time and that there were young girls who bore the pain better than I did. They then closed the curtains and left me there.”
Sibiya said she felt the babies coming out and she pushed until they were both lying on the bed.
Even after calling for help, she said, the nurses were gone for so long that she was able to take pictures of her babies with her cellphone as her babies lay there.
“They were so big. I also do not believe that they died,” said her mother-in-law Mavis Skosana, who saw pictures of the infants.
Sibiya said that when the nurses eventually returned to the ward, they swore at her and told her that her children would not live.
“I asked the nurses to put them in an incubator, but they refused. One said it would be a waste of time. My babies were breathing when the nurses wrapped them in hospital blankets and took them.
“I was shocked when they came back and told me that the babies had died. I asked to see them but they refused, saying the hospital would burn them,” Sibiya said.
While she was in “deep shock and not thinking straight” after being told her twins had died, she was made to sign a form, but no one explained to her what it was.
“I am still disturbed by what happened. I believe that my children are still alive.
“We went to a prophet and the first thing she asked me was, ‘Where are your children?’ ”
Skosana said the prophet also told them that the hospital must give Sibiya her children back.
“Even if they had died, seeing them and burying them would have given me closure. I can’t sleep at night. I think about my babies all the time,” a weeping Sibiya said.
Her sister-in-law Nombulelo Skosana said she was kicked out of the hospital when she insisted on seeing the babies.
“I asked whether they had evaluated my sister-in-law’s state of mind before making her sign the form.
“I am a family member, and they should have also allowed me to see the bodies of the babies,” Nombulelo said.
Sibiya said she wanted to sue the hospital. “This is not about money. I just want the truth,” she added.
The hospital said that by the time Sibiya arrived, the “foetuses were found not to be viable”.
The chief executive, Lesego Pooe, said the hospital had no records at its disposal which indicated that Sibiya was attending an antenatal clinic anywhere.
“She arrived in the hospital’s labour ward and the foetuses were found not to be viable.
“She was transferred to the gynaecology ward for further management, where the patient was admitted following the doctor’s instructions.
“The patient, as with other patients, was monitored by the nurses in the ward. Statements from all the nurses on duty indicate that the patient was shown the foetuses after the delivery,” Pooe said.
He said Sibiya had signed a form consenting to the incineration of the babies. “Families are counselled and given two options: incineration or burial.”
Sibiya also lodged a complaint with the SA Nursing Council, which said there was no evidence that she had been neglected by nurses.