News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Monday July 22nd 2019

‘Doctors killed my baby boy’

Distraught Ntombuvuyo Dwabayo is comforted by her friend Asande Manto. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso/WCN

Doctors spent 45 minutes arguing over how to deal with a birth complication at Tygerberg hospital – while the patient was in mid-delivery – resulting in the baby dying days later while on a life support machine, alleges the distraught mother.

And 32-year-old Ntombovuyo Dwabayo, who has one son and lost a daughter in a fire two years ago, says after this newspaper contacted the hospital for comment, a man claiming to be from the hospital told her that if she publishes her story he will disclose confidential medical information about her.

Relating her horror Dwabayo told how she was left lying on a hospital bed for three-quarters-of-an hour with her new-born baby’s head outside of her body and its lower half still in her womb.

Dwabayo said she went into labour on Monday last week and started giving birth at mid-morning lunchtime on Tuesday.

For the last two hours of her labour four doctors attending to her argued over whether or not they should use forceps or perform a Caesarean section.

They used forceps to pull the baby out but damaged her baby’s head in the process.

With the baby half-delivered, she said the doctors left the room.

She said she was half-unconscious and struggling to breath. Requests for other doctors to attend to her were ignored as she was told she must wait for the doctors attending to her to return.

“I thought I was going to die and I am lucky to be alive. This was my first experience ever.”

The, when the doctors eventually returned, they pushed the baby back inside her and performed a Caesarean section.

As a result of the forceps and prolonged labour, she said, her baby was brain damaged and had to be put in an ICU on a life support machine.

Discharged from hospital on Wednesday, she said she got a call on Friday from “hospital management” telling her they were going to switch her baby’s life support off as they felt the baby would not live long.

Despite her pleading with them over the phone not to do so, they went ahead.

Then on Tuesday this week, after this newspaper and asked the hospital for comment, a man calling from the same phone number as the hospital’s communication department said if she went ahead and published her story they would disclose confidential medical information of hers.

The hospital denied any threats were made.

And a doctor who attended Dwabayo throughout her pregnancy said both she and the baby were in good health and she should have given birth without any problem.

“During my pregnancy my child had no problems because I was attending all the appointments for pregnancy checkups.

“I am planning to sue the Department of Health because the doctors were at fault,” said Dwabayo.

But when Dwabayo went to open a case at the Bellville police station on Wednesday (Aug 25) she was told to report the matter to the courts because her case was a civil one. At the court she was told to go back to the police station where they then told her to go back to the hospital and get a death certificate.

Tygerberg Hospital spokesperson Laticia Pienaar confirmed Dwabayo’s baby’s death.

Pienaar said, “from the doctors’ and nurses’ notes the there was no indication that the doctors had a lengthy argument about the best way to deliver the baby.

“The exact cause of death will become clearer if a post-mortem and placental histology is available and after discussion at the combined Morbidity & Mortality meeting.

Pienaar said the post-mortem would be available within 28 days after the death.

She said during the week of Dwabayo’s baby death, of the 79 deliveries made, five other babies died because of different causes. – Sandiso Phaliso, West Cape News

Tags: tygerberg

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