Cape Town - A grieving Mitchells Plain family has accused the area’s Community Health Clinic maternity ward of causing the death of their newborn.
A nurse allegedly threw the newborn on the floor immediately after birth on Saturday.
Liezl Mesias, 34, said her water broke while she was at home and her boyfriend rushed her to the hospital.
This was going to be Mesias’s third child and the hospital experience from her first two children had been completely different to the weekend's.
She said the nurse, whose name is known to the Cape Times, had shoved her from behind to a nearby bed.
By this time the head of the newborn had already been sticking out of the womb, and she was holding it by the head.
“She said I must not push, and I told her I was not pushing but the baby was coming out on its own.
‘‘She handled the baby by its head and when it came out, she threw it on the floor and left. She had no decency of cutting the umbilical cord.
“When the baby was on the floor after she threw it, it was still attached to me through the umbilical cord,” said Mesias.
“It was a nightmare. They treat people so badly.”
Her boyfriend, Shaun de Mink, said all they wanted to know from the hospital was the cause of death and why they were treated that way.
He said Mesias has not received counselling since the incident.
“There was no decency to even inform the police that the baby had passed on,” said De Mink.
But the provincial Health Department says the management of the facility has investigated the incident and “found that the midwives on duty followed the correct procedures”.
Department spokesperson Monique Johnstone said: “The investigation also found that allegations of abuse and negligence are unfounded.”
“We could unfortunately not offer any counselling to the mother as she had left the facility before being officially discharged,” Johnstone said.
“The client presented (herself) to the facility at 10.45am in early labour and (was) fully dilated.
"She was escorted to the maternity unit by the security guard and was then assisted by the midwife, who held the mother by her arm and escorted her to the labour ward.
“She was immediately put on the bed and requested not to push as the midwife needed to put on surgical gloves before attending to the mother as per our standard practice. Unfortunately, the client delivered her stillborn baby at 10.50am.”
Johnstone said macerated births are not reported to the police unless the child was born off-site and died before reaching the maternity unit.
She said the placenta would be sent for histology, where the cause of death would be determined.
“We encourage the family to approach the management of the facility with any other concerns they have or if they require more information or counselling services.”