A mother’s pain
In June 2015, 33-year-old Mirriam Senoe went into labour and was taken to Michael Mapongwana Day Hospital. On arrival, the nurses performed a full examination on her and the baby concluding that, although she was in labour, it was not time for her to give birth. She was provided with a bed at the back of the maternity ward and told to wait.
Mirriam’s pain became more severe. When another nurse came to check on her, she shouted at Mirriam asking her how she had received a bed, and why she was in the hospital if she was so far from giving birth. This nurse sternly told Mirriam to avoid pushing and inducing labour, saying she would have to wait for the night shift staff to deliver her baby. During this time, Mirriam’s pains were getting worse
By now, Mirriam was bleeding and the pain was not subsiding. Mirriam started pushing, infuriating the nurse who was attending to her. Without any further inspection an ambulance was called to transfer her to Khayelitsha. When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics were shocked to find that the baby was crowning. She was rushed to Khayelitsha, where she gave birth to her baby. After the baby was born, Mirriam overheard the nurses saying that the baby was unwell and was taken to Groote Schuur Hospital. The following day, the doctors told Mirriam the baby had been transferred to Groote Schuur because it was seriously ill.
Because of the delay in the birthing process, the baby had defecated in Mirriam’s womb, polluting its weakened lungs and leading to breathing problems.
Mirriam was discharged the next day without her baby. The following day, Mirriam received a call to come to the hospital to feed the baby. The next day she was called again and told to come back to the hospital because the baby was seriously sick. When she arrived, she was told that her baby had died and that her options were either to take her baby home and bury the child herself, or she could let the hospital bury her child, which meant that she wouldn’t receive a death certificate. Mirriam decided to let the hospital bury her child. After the incident Mirriam decided to lay a complaint at the Michael Mapongwana Hospital and is awaiting news of its progress.