Tuesday 20 August 2019


A newborn fell to his death at Mamelodi Hospital, east of Pretoria, after nurses allegedly refused to help his mother, who gave birth standing.

Theresa Ngwendu, 30, the Zimbabwean mother, told Sowetan yesterday she was rushed to the hospital a week ago as she was about to go into labour.

She said a nurse at the hospital refused to assist her on arrival and told her "this is not Zimbabwe".

Her water broke inside the maternity ward around 6am. "My baby came out while I was standing after the nurse refused to assist me. I was in pain while also bleeding," Ngwendu

She said her baby fell head first onto the hospital floor and was immediately declared dead by the nursing staff afterwards.

Ngwendu said she had started bleeding inside the taxi on her way to the hospital. She was travelling with her husband, Tinashe Zisani.

She said the hospital was the closest one to her rented backroom in Nellmapius, across the railway line from Mamelodi.

"When I got inside the maternity ward, I told the nurse that I'm in pain, she just ignored me," Ngwendu said. "I told her again that I'm in pain and I think my baby is coming. The nurse said: 'close your legs and go there...' and the baby came out while I was still standing there."

Ngwendu said the baby landed forcefully on the floor and the impact left an indentation on the newborn's forehead.

The hospital's CEO Dr Terrence Makhudu said he viewed the allegations in a serious light and has launched an investigation.

"We met the family... to afford them an opportunity to present their concerns and unhappiness with the service rendered and to redress the matter," Makhudu said.

He said the hospital gave an "explanation... relating to the condition that lead to the death of their baby but they (parents) were dissatisfied."

When asked about that explanation, Makhudu said: "I cannot disclose that information as it goes against doctor/ patient confidentiality."

He said they were looking forward to welcoming their first child. He showed Sowetan some of the new clothes they had bought in preparation for the baby's arrival.

Zisani and Ngwendu were planning to lay their newborn baby to rest today.

Last month, the Gauteng health department launched an inquiry after a heavily pregnant woman said she was turned away at a Mamelodi clinic and had to give birth at the gates of the facility.

Elina Maseko, who was about to go into labour, went to the Stanza Bopape Community Health Centre in Mamelodi on a Sunday where she was allegedly turned away and told to go to Mamelodi Hospital without being examined.

Police spokesperson Capt Johannes Maheso confirmed that an inquest has been opened with the Mamelodi East police station.

"The body was taken to a government mortuary for a postmortem, and we are still awaiting results thereof," said Maheso said. Sowetan


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