Tembisa Hospital is one of 11 state hospitals put on alert to treat patients who contracted the coronavirus - should the virus spread to South Africa. Picture: Dimpho Maja African News Agency(ANA)
Tembisa Hospital is one of 11 state hospitals put on alert to treat patients who contracted the coronavirus - should the virus spread to South Africa. Picture: Dimpho Maja African News Agency(ANA)

Mother threatens to sue Tembisa Hospital

By Roland Mpofu Time of article published Feb 3, 2020

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A Tembisa mother who gave birth to twins prematurely at the Tembisa Hospital in October last year is convinced her babies died from an infection caused by the klebsiella bacterium and has accused medical staff of negligence.

There was an outcry recently following the deaths of 10 babies at the Ekurhuleni hospital due to the drug-resistant infection believed to be the result of suspected klebsiella outbreak, which causes pneumonia and meningitis.

The hospital has reported that the outbreak started in November 2019.

But, Thabelo Mungovhoro said the hospital had misinformed the public when it said the outbreak began only in November and she is convinced her twins died from the infection.

The mother, 31, said she gave birth after a seven-month pregnancy on October 13 at the hospital.

She said the twins died a few days later and a nurse at the neonatal ward allegedly told her that her babies got an infection due to overcrowding caused by foreign nationals.

“After I gave birth to the twins they were transferred to the Kangaroo ward and later one of them was taken to the ICU because of an infection,” she said.

On the second day after giving birth, Mungovhoro went back to the hospital to breastfeed the twin who was still at the neonatal unit but found the baby dead.

She said a doctor and a nurse in the ward, allegedly sitting around doing nothing, told her that they were not aware that her baby had died. She has accused them of negligence.

“When I arrived there I found my baby in the bed, but there was a doctor and a nurse and they said they didn’t know anything that the baby was dead.

“I tried to squeeze the milk just to check, but the baby did not move. And then I talked to the doctor and the doctor said he was not aware that the baby was dead, but said he was still busy with the other baby.

“What I can tell you is that the information written on the file is total lies because they were supposed to know when the baby died; obviously they are going to write lies.

“Later, the doctor told me that the other baby has an infection and said he was going to do his best to treat it,” said Mungovhoro.

Eight days later, the other twin also died, said Mungovhoro, adding that she witnessed other babies dying during her stay at the hospital and said she never received counselling for her ordeal.

Mungovhoro has threatened to sue the hospital for medical negligence if it doesn’t come out with the truth surrounding the death of her twins. Mungovhoro said she spent R30000 to bury her twins in Venda.

Tembisa Hospital spokesperson Nothando Mdluli said: “We sincerely apologise that the mother is the one that realised the death of the baby before our nurses and doctors.

“However, it is important to note that there is periodic checking of the babies in the ward where doctors and nurses do rounds. In between the times when rounds are not done, mothers are allowed to come in and be with the babies.

“Before the baby was seen by the mother, a set of rounds were already done by the doctors and the baby still had life.

“Vitals were taken at 2pm and they were found to be normal. However, it could be that shortly after, the baby’s condition had changed. This however, does not mean that the baby was neglected.”

Mdluli said the first twin died because of prematurity and the second twin died not due to infection, but because of “Acinetobacter baumannii” (affects people with compromised immune systems).

The DA’s Jack Bloom called on the hospital to do an investigation and provide answers.

“According to the hospital CEO, when I visited there the hospital was averaging two antibiotic-resistant klebsiella cases every month from January to October, ie 14 in total, which they said they were managing. There was a jump to five cases in November and they got really concerned when there were 12 cases in December.

“So it is possible that her babies got this specific infection in October but this needs to be confirmed by the hospital.

“The hospital is terribly overcrowded and understaffed, so I am concerned by the allegation that a doctor and a nurse were sitting around doing nothing. ”

Bloom said there needs to be another hospital in the area as the local population has grown immensely.

The Sunday Independent 

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