Photo: African News Agency (ANA).
Photo: African News Agency (ANA).

Durban doctor in R15m lawsuit says mom, deformed baby received best care

By Janine Moodley Time of article published Jun 13, 2019

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Durban - An uMhlanga specialist obstetrician, who is being sued for R15 million by a Phoenix couple for the trauma they suffered during and after the birth of their severely deformed baby, wants the claim to be dismissed with costs.

He said he executed all medical management with the necessary care and skill.

In a written plea submitted to the Durban High Court through attorney Altus Janse van Rensburg, Dr Abdul Hazmath, of the Umhlanga Medical Centre, said complications with the birth of the couple’s baby occurred despite such care.

Hazmath is being sued by Temeshini Ramsewak, 39, and her Eskom planner husband, Neeren, 42, after their baby was born with a deformed face, one deformed limb and no sex organs.

They alleged they had been given every assurance by Hazmath that their baby would be physically normal - save for the possibility that the child could have compromised lungs and kidneys, which could be treated after birth.

In court papers, the couple claimed that during the C-section, the doctor removed the baby and stated aloud to the paediatrician, “severe abnormalities in lower extremities”.

“The staff in the surgical room went silent.”

The baby was then shown to the couple who were left in disbelief.

“The baby was horrifically deformed and struggled to breathe with a gurgling sound.”

Temeshini cried uncontrollably, but was allegedly told to stop crying by Hazmath as he was busy stitching her up.

The baby was then removed and administered medical treatment.

Neeren proceeded to see the baby at the NICU where he was advised the child was not compatible with life. He was distraught and could not find it within himself to tell his wife. The paediatrician then informed her about the baby’s condition.

“The baby was brought back to me for a short while, and I began apologising to the baby. He was removed from me because his oxygen levels were not improving. We were told we did not have much more time, and I was given the baby to hold. By then, he had turned blue and struggled to breathe. He died in my arms.”

The couple is suing the doctor for R15 million for negligence, emotional trauma, distress, anguish, pain and suffering.

They filed a combined summons through their attorney, Theasen Pillay, in the Durban High Court in January.

In court papers, Hazmath denied all allegations and said he did everything expected of a qualified specialist.

Hazmath said when he first examined Temeshini in November 2015, he diagnosed pregnancy of seven weeks and estimated date of delivery of July 17, 2016.

He was provided a history of surgery for a brain tumour with subsequent shunting and that she had had two normal deliveries and a spontaneous abortion. On the patient’s third visit in February, Hazmath said he detected low amniotic fluid volume on a scan.

“She was advised to undergo a level 3 scan by a foetal specialist but refused as it was deemed unaffordable. She was admitted for observations and managed expectantly,” said Hazmath.

Temeshini was discharged a few days later showing little improvement and was regularly observed for close to three months.

She was again admitted to hospital, where she agreed to see a foetal specialist for a scan.

“According to the foetal specialist, the prognosis was poor, but he nevertheless recommended steroids and monitoring.”

On May 25, Hazmath performed a caesarean section on Temeshini and delivered a “live” baby with severe lower body abnormality who was diagnosed with Sirenomelia, a very rare congenital abnormality. He said the baby died shortly thereafter.

He said Temeshini and himself concluded an oral agreement where he undertook to; “examine her and advise on treatment; render the treatment required and act with such care and skill as may reasonably be expected of a specialist gynaecologist and obstetrician”.

Hazmath denied that he was grossly negligent or that he is liable to compensate them for general damages suffered as a consequence of his actions.


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