South Africa - Cape Town - 27 October 2021. Medical practitioner Dr Mpho Pooe during a press briefing at Independent Media. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)
South Africa - Cape Town - 27 October 2021. Medical practitioner Dr Mpho Pooe during a press briefing at Independent Media. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Tembisa 10: ‘Doctors have given her a raw deal,’ says Dr Mpho Pooe

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Oct 27, 2021

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Cape Town – Dr Mpho Pooe, a medical practitioner who confirmed Moliehi Maria Sithole, the mother of the decuplets, was indeed pregnant and underwent a recent C-section said the treatment she received is criminal.

Addressing the media during a press conference which was held by Independent Media, Pooe said she consulted and examined Sithole.

She called her findings a “sad moment for us as women in this country”.

She said while many knew the case from what they have seen in the media, many including the media criticised Sithole, labelled her a liar, even took pictures with a washing basket in her tummy, saying Sithole pretended to be pregnant.

“That is very painful as a woman. It is something that should never happen to anyone.”

Pooe confirmed that during consultations with Sithole, she found that she was pregnant four times and had 16 children. She described the mother as “super/hyper ovulated”.

“I found a history of twins, triplets, single and decuplets,” she told the media.

Pooe said during her consultation, observation into small details would be able to tell whether the person being examined is being truthful and stated Sithole carried herself well, dressed appropriately and had good eye contact. She was orientated, her speech coherent and mobile.

She said Siithole’s sequence of events such as when she found out she was pregnant, went for scans, her delivery and everything tallied.

“On January 14, at seven weeks, at Sunninghill Hospital she [Sithole] was told about babies in her tubes. That would be referred to as an ectopic pregnancy and is regarded as an emergency as the patient or woman might bleed to death.

“On January 18, she was told they take the babies from the tubes and back into the womb. Medically impossible. You can Google it and you will see that is not possible.

“The following day, she was discharged and told all went well, all the babies were inside the womb. They were fine,” Pooe said.

She said Sithole would have had to be noted as a high risk patient as her normal antenatal care would have been different as that of a woman carrying a single child.

Pooe said Sithole was attending three different places, and upon following up on all dates it correlated with dates on the hospital books.

Sithole developed hypertension, which Pooe said could be due to the multiple pregnancy or post delivery due to all the stressors she went through.

Her records show she never had hypertension during the pregnancy, it came later.

Pooe said Sithole has developed insomnia.

The doctor said she checked Sithole’s abdomen and the scar (of the C-section) was found and it had to be determined whether it was a new or old scar.

The scar was found to be less than six months old.

“She was definitely pregnant. She delivered by C-section. We cannot say it never happened. Delivery did occur.

“Because I am the second or third opinion, I wanted the medical records from the previous doctor/hospital who was attending to her and this became tedious. It became life threatening for me. It was quite hectic where at some stage I had to change cars and use friends' cars, or hire a car to get all those files and information. And yes, we managed to get all those legal information,” Pooe said.

Sithole is known by the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, the doctor said as she delivered her triplets there.

It has also been revealed the triplets have also just disappeared from Steve Biko Academic Hospital .

It is Pooe’s medical opinion that Sithole did not and has not suffered from pseudocyesis (false or phantom pregnancy).

It was also her expert opinion that Sithole was in no way psychotic.

“I noted, that while doing research on her bloodwork references and noted her file constantly changed on the National Health Laboratory Services’ system, throwing up different patient names with each successive log in and that her Steve Biko file number, although existing and verified, was missing, wiped from everything as though she never existed.

“This is a person we have several files on. Is she a ghost? What happened to her medical files?” Pooe questioned.

She questioned the oath, code of conduct and ethic of doctors involved in treating Sithole.

Pooe stated that doctors were supposed to be saving lives, rejoicing when they see a woman having 10 babies.

“What have we [as doctors] done? We destroyed her intentionally and because of greed.

“Doctors who said they are passionate about this profession have been found to be destroying the lives, destroying many of our brothers, mothers, sisters and aunts. We [as doctors] have given her a raw deal. We have deceived the nation. How many lives have you destroyed? How many children have you separated from their families?” she questioned.

Pooe called for justice for Sithole and stated that she deserves to be given her babies.

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