Mother’s painful or­deal

Woman left alone with dead baby at North­dale Hos­pi­tal

The Witness - Wheels - - NEWS - AMIL UMRAW and AMANDA KHOZA

A WOMAN was left alone, cradling her dead new­born baby for seven long hours, af­ter nurs­ing staff at North­dale Hos­pi­tal left her unat­tended.

Af­ter be­ing shrugged off by “rude” nurses when she ar­rived at the hos­pi­tal and made to sit in agony in the pas­sage of the ma­ter­nity ward, Mkhize was on the brink of de­liv­er­ing be­fore she was al­lowed a bed.

Shortly af­ter giv­ing birth, her baby boy was de­clared dead.

Zikhona Mkhize ( 25), an un­em­ployed Tay­lor’s Halt woman, had rushed her­self to North­dale Hos­pi­tal on Mon­day af­ter experiencing se­vere ab­dom­i­nal pains in her sev­enth month of preg­nancy.

When she ar­rived, barely able to walk due to the “ag­o­nis­ing pain”, hos­pi­tal staff de­nied her treat­ment, say­ing she had to go to St Mary’s Hos­pi­tal in Mar­i­annhill be­cause she wasn’t from Pi­eter­mar­itzburg.

She was made to wait on a bench in the pas­sage way of the ma­ter­nity ward while the nurses went on their tea break. At this time she “could feel the baby’s head com­ing”.

“I went down on my knees like I was giv­ing birth and only then they took me se­ri­ously. They made me walk from there with the baby’s head com­ing out and as soon as I got on the bed, I gave birth,” Mkhize said.

Mkhize’s new­born son was im­me­di­ately taken away from her due to com­pli­ca­tions in his breath­ing. He died soon af­ter.

“I cried when they told me he had died. If the sis­ter had taken me se­ri­ously be­fore dis­miss­ing me, the baby would still be alive. If she helped me ear­lier, he would be fine,” Mkhize said sadly.

Nurses brought the body of her son back to her as she lay in a pool of her own blood, say­ing she could take her time with him and even “take pic­tures if she wants”.

Alone in a ward hold­ing her mo­tion­less son in her arms, Mkhize waited for her el­der sis­ter Nokuhle to clean her up and bring a blan­ket to cover the baby. Hos­pi­tal staff even­tu­ally ar­rived af­ter 5 pm to take the baby’s body to the mor­tu­ary.

“I had been so ex­cited; this was go­ing to be my sec­ond child. We spent R1 000 on the baby’s clothes, which is a lot of money for us. I’m so trau­ma­tised by what hap­pened,” Mkhize said.

She was re­leased from North­dale Hos­pi­tal on Tues­day.

“We got such ap­palling ser­vice from the hos­pi­tal and the nurses have a very bad at­ti­tude. They don’t care about the peo­ple,” Nokuhle told The Wit­ness.

The Depart­ment of Health had not re­sponded by the time of go­ing to press.


Zikhona Mkhize ( 25) was left alone for seven hours with her dead baby at North­dale Hos­pi­tal on Mon­day.

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