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First time mom shares traumatic ordeal at Dora Nginza

Pixabay (stock image)

A first-time mother has opened up about her traumatic ordeal at the Dora Nginza Hospital in Gqeberha.

The 20-year-old Chelee Concer said when her water broke at Provincial Hospital on the 10th of February her unborn baby was going into distress and she was subsequently transferred to Dora Nginza.

She said her amniotic fluid was leaking and by the time she arrived at Dora Nginza at 5 am her contractions were strong and painful.

Concer said this is where her nightmare began as she was only attended to at 10 am.

“I was terrified, I was crying the whole time while sitting there,” she said.

Concer said when a nurse finally attended to her she was informed that she was not fully dilated and was given pain medication before being transferred to the maternity ward.

Concer claims that when she arrived at the ward more than 20 pregnant women were sitting in the passage as the ward was full.

She said she was given a chair to sit on and joined the group of women waiting for a bed.

Concer desperately wanted to be transferred back to Provincial Hospital but was allegedly told to sit and wait.

According to the Department of Health’s maternity guidelines published in 2016, all women in labour should be treated with respect and courtesy.

“Address the woman by her name, ensure privacy and always perform intimate examinations behind the scenes with a chaperone if needed.”

It’s written that during the latent phase, when the cervix is less than 4 cm dilated, then temperature, respiratory and blood pressure should be checked every four hours.

The guideline also indicates that after 4 cm, the foetus’s heart rate should be monitored four-hourly before and immediately after contractions using a handheld Doppler.

Concer alleges that none of this was done and says while sitting in her chair overnight nobody checked on how far she was dilated and not even her blood pressure was checked.

She said the following morning she eventually got a bed that was stained with old blood.

“I know it’s a public hospital but there has to be cleaners. There was old blood that was on the bed, there were dirty sheets and no ventilation [in the room] and it’s [during] Covid,” Concer said.

Concer said she was finally taken to the theatre for a C-section where she claims that none of the procedures were explained to her nor was she asked to sign a consent form.

The Department of Health Guidelines clearly states that a woman’s consent should be obtained, and the procedure should be explained clearly before going ahead.

She said what looked like student nurses to her, with a Nelson Mandela University badge, attempted to administer an epidural, but they were struggling to put the needle in her lower back adding that after she got home, she noticed that her lower back had bruises due to the several attempts made.

She was eventually given gas before her son Mikai was finally delivered via C-section.

According to Nelson Mandela University spokesperson, Zandile Mbabela the faculty of health sciences does have a partnership with the department of health whereby students are placed in various healthcare facilities for practical training.

Mbabela said that the facilities include Livingstone, Mercantile and Dora Nginza among other hospitals.

She said students are governed by their professional regulatory associations and can only practice according to their stipulated scope of practice.

Concer said that shortly after being reunited with her newborn, they were all instructed to get off the beds to make way for other expecting mothers coming out of the theatre.

Ironically, she was back on the chair, this time holding her baby with a fresh cut from the C-section.

This proved to be too much for the new mom who asked for her baby to be assessed. When doctors cleared him, she discharged herself.

Concer's nightmare did not stop there.

The new mom told Algoa FM News when she arrived home, she saw blue marks all over the baby’s body.

Alarmed, she went to a private doctor, whose name is known to AlgoaFM, who told her that the bruises were caused by the baby staying in the womb for too long with too little amniotic fluids and not enough oxygen.

She said just days after discharging herself, her C-section wound started leaking fluids mixed with blood.

A doctor informed her that she was not stitched up properly and had developed an infection.

Concer shared her story on Facebook and was soon contacted by the Department of Health who asked her to come to their offices in Newton Park.

During the meeting, they proposed that she go back to Dora Nginza to have her wound checked but she refused and asked to be sent to Provincial Hospital in Kariega( Uitenhage) instead.

She said she was sent to Provincial Hospital where she was admitted for three days to treat the infection.

Department of Health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo told AlgoaFM News that Concer would have to call the department’s 24-hour toll-free number for an investigation to be launched.

However, Concer told AlgoaFM News that as far as she knew the matter was already under investigation following her meeting at the department’s Newton Park District officers.

Concer has a follow-up meeting planned with the department.

Meanwhile, another patient who gave birth at Dora Nginza last month has also come forward.

The 26-year-old Daneley Wesso from Salt Lake told AlgoaFm News that after giving birth to her son, she was also told to lie on a mattress on the floor due to a shortage of beds.

Wesso said when she eventually got a bed, she had to sit on a bench and give the bed to her son to lie on.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) Eastern Cape provincial secretary, Khaya Sodidi says although he isn’t aware of these particular events, he isn’t surprised by this.

Sodidi said that the union has raised the issue of Motherwell having its own district hospital to alleviate the pressure on Dora Nginza.

“All Motherwell cases are taken to Dora Nginza and you find Dora Nginza overwhelmed by patients that should have been attended to in Motherwell. This is an issue we have raised with the new MEC [of health]”, he said.

Sodidi also touched on the issue of student nurses being used in hospital due to staff shortages in hospitals.

He said Denosa has heard of incidents of students being used as complimentary staff although the department of health has denied this.

“The issue of a student packing C-section equipment is a big no-no for a student. It’s a speciality on its own and not anyone can work in theatre,” he said added.

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