Pretoria - The Gauteng Department of Health is investigating the mystery surrounding the baby boy who allegedly went missing soon after birth at the Refentse Public Clinic in Stinkwater, north of the city. His mother Gloria Mhlongo told the Pretoria News she was never given any feedback on the condition of the baby after giving birth. Neither was she shown the child.
“When I tried to wake up to see the baby, the nurse told me to lie down. I saw him lying there and he was breathing. The nurse went to weigh the baby and after that she told me my son was a boy. She had a plastic bag and placed him inside and turned her back on me.”
Asked if she heard the baby cry after giving birth, the 26-year-old mother of two other children said all her children didn’t cry until they got home. “I was still confused and called my mom. I was in the bathroom when my mom arrived and when I went outside she was with the nurse who helped me deliver.
“She too was never told what happened to the baby. All they said was that I should get dressed.”
Mhlongo said that after leaving the clinic, they went to the police station to report the baby missing. But they were referred back to the clinic by police to ascertain what happened before opening a case.
Mhlongo, from New Eersterust near Soshanguve, said she suspected the clinic staff disposed of her baby without her consent. Mhlongo now wants the department to take severe action against anyone who might be involved in the disappearance of her son. According to her, the baby was born prematurely and taken away by a nurse shortly afterwards.
She never saw him again. She said no explanation was given to her, and she suspected the child might even still be alive. In the search for answers, Mhlongo, accompanied by DA officials and police, stormed into the clinic to demand answers from management.
But on arrival, pandemonium broke out when security guards denied the contingent entrance to the clinic. Speaking outside the clinic, Mhlongo said her ordeal began at around 5am two Tuesdays ago when she arrived with her brother at the clinic. She was in excruciating pain, she said.
However, she claimed she wasn’t given any medical assistance until a cleaner called a nurse who eventually put her on drip and checked her blood pressure. “I was confused and in pain. I stayed for an hour in the passage.
“A cleaner went to call the nurses. One of them arrived and she asked what was wrong and I told her that I was in pain. She then left again.
“Another nurse came and checked my blood pressure and told me to sit on the bed while they called an ambulance. My waters broke at around 1pm and that’s when she helped me deliver. Before that, she kept saying my baby might not make it.”
DA regional leader Abel Tau, who was with her outside the clinic, said the party would write to Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa to call for an urgent investigation into the alleged disappearance of the baby.
“We were made to believe that the clinic would have disposed of the baby because it was stillborn. However, this does not make sense because in terms of the legislation, they needed the mother’s consent to medically dispose of a child born prematurely, in accordance with the legislation,” Tau said.
“What’s important is that we really need to condemn this behaviour; from what happened at the police station when we went to report the baby missing, and here at the clinic where the gates were locked before us. The way this family has been treated is totally unacceptable.”
Provincial Health Department spokesperson Lesemang Matuka rejected claims that the baby may have been snatched. He said such insinuations were unfounded.
“The matter is being investigated to verify what happened and findings and recommendations thereof will provide a way forward for further management of similar incidences in future,” he added.