Cape Town - A young Hanover Park couple is devastated after their seven-week-old baby died in their arms after they were turned away by a local day hospital.
Little Maliha Mesias suffered a seizure over the weekend.
Her bereaved father, Marc Mesias, 22, says the infant woke up crying in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Mom, Ayesha Galvaan, 24, says Maliha was healthy and usually calmed down when she was put on her father’s chest.
But when she continued to cry, they knew something was wrong and rushed to the Hanover Park Community Health Centre (CHC).
“When we realised she was having a fit, I pulled out the car immediately and went to the day hospital because that is where she was born and there is a trauma centre,” Marc explains.
“When we got there I was hooting, flashing my lights and screaming for five minutes and then the security guards eventually opened up.
“They didn’t say much and I rushed inside. The baby section had lights on, but the trauma section was completely shut down and I was shouting: ‘My baby is dying, she is not breathing.’ Then the security guard just shouted I must go to Heideveld.”
Marc says they rushed to Gatesville Medical Centre where Maliha was declared dead and the parents were told that she had been without oxygen for too long.
Her janaazah was held later that day and she was buried at Mowbray Cemetery.
The first-time parents returned to the CHC on Monday to seek answers and say they were told by a manager that there was someone at the Maternity Obstetric Unit (MOU) who could have stabilised the child.
“I asked her why it is that when I came at 5am, the security chased me away to Heideveld and she told me that they only deal with pregnant women and the trauma centre was closed at night,” Marc says.
“So I asked her what is the use and she told me that they had a case where someone was shot in front of the Day Hospital and they told the people to go to Heideveld.”
Health Department spokesperson, Monique Johnstone, says they are investigating the matter as their policy states that no patient seeking healthcare may be turned away.
“Once the investigation has been concluded, management will engage and provide feedback to the family. The Hanover Park MOU, which operates on a 24-hour basis, had staff on duty, but were unfortunately not aware of this incident.
“The Emergency Centre at the facility offers a 12-hour service (from 7am to 7pm) and was not open at the time of the incident.”
Marc says he hopes other parents don’t go through what they had.
A weeping Ayesha says: “I don’t blame them, I am upset at the world. My baby was only seven weeks old and I mean if there was someone there that could help us, why didn’t they help us?”