Hospital allegedly loses baby for weeks

Hospital allegedly loses baby for weeksHealth cards reveal the HIV status of both mother and child. (File photo)

Lebohang Manyaka gave birth to a baby boy at Germiston’s Bertha Gxowa Hospital but he vanished right after birth. Weeks later, she was called to identify a dead baby – but she does not know if this is her child or what happened to him if it is her baby.

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Lebohang Manyaka says she is not convinced by the DNA testing the hospital conducted to prove the body she collected was that of her infant son. She questions how DNA testing could take just hours and not days. (File photo)
Lebohang Manyaka says she is not convinced by the DNA testing the hospital conducted to prove the body she collected was that of her infant son. She questions how DNA testing could take just hours and not days. (File photo)

Manyaka gave birth to a baby boy via Cesarean Section at the East Rand hospital on 31 January. The next morning, when she asked to see her child, she says that a doctor told her the baby had been transferred to Natalspruit Hospital.

Subsequently, Manyaka says another doctor told that her child had died, but she claims that her patient file says the baby was to be discharged at 7pm on 1 February.

Two weeks after giving birth, a distraught Manyaka contacted OurHealth saying that she had been unable to find her baby.

“The hospital does not want to tell me the truth about the whereabouts of my child,” Manyaka told OurHealth. “All I want is my child. It does not matter if he is alive or dead, but as a family we want him.”

A few days later, after OurHealth had begun to make enquiries about the baby, Manyaka received a call from Bertha Gxowa Hospital to come and collect her child.

When she and her partner, Karabo Rachidi, arrived a health worker asked if they were there to see the child. Instead of being ushered into a ward, the couple were escorted to the mortuary and shown the body of a baby boy, Manyaka says.[quote float= left]”All I want is my child. It does not matter if he is alive or dead, but as a family we want him”

She adds that the family was asked for DNA samples to confirm that the child was hers. Within hours, she was given results confirming the child’s identity but says she remains suspicious of the test results.

The family is now demanding to know how this could happen and has threatened legal action against the Department of Health.

“We want to take the hospital to court,” Rachidi tells OurHealth. “We want to know why they were hiding my child in the first place.”

Manyaka has vowed to seek justice for her dead child.

“We will not rest until we find the truth out from the hospital about what they actually did to my child,” she adds.

According to the Bertha Gxowa Hospital’s quality assurance manager, Octavia Mngadi, the matter has been “escalated” to the hospital’s CEO.

Gauteng Department of Health Head of Communications Prince Hamnca confirmed that the department has opened up an investigation into the case.

“The Gauteng Department of Health has instituted an investigation into the matter and sent a team from the quality assurance unit to Bertha Gxowa Hospital to investigate the allegations,” Hamnca explains. “Depending on the outcome of the investigations, if necessary, disciplinary processes will be followed.”

An edited version of this article was first published in the 10 March edition of The Star newspaper. A version of this story was also republished by the Germiston City News on 11 March.