Zambezi woman blames nurses for baby's death

30 Aug 2015 12:50pm
By Faith Sankwasa
KATIMA MULILO, 30 AUG (NAMPA) – The death of another baby is being blamed on negligent nurses – this time at the Katima Mulilo State Hospital.
Siyemo Maseka from the Musanga area in the Zambezi Region told Nampa on Friday none of the four nurses on duty came to her aid when she went into labour on Sunday night.
Speaking to Nampa on Friday, she said the nurses refused to help her, leaving her to give birth on her own in the hospital’s Ward Two.
The 20-year-old Maseka says she was admitted at 22h00. The nurses apparently laughed at her while she was enduring labour pains, and left her alone. The young woman says she feels her baby daughter suffocated during delivery.
“I was in terrible pain. I called and screamed out but the nurses did not react immediately, they instead laughed and shouted from the reception area that I was not due until 05h00 as I was not fully dilated.
“They shouted that it was not their fault that I was in that situation. I had no choice but to attempt to push my baby out. I felt as if my bones were cracking,” she said while narrating her ordeal to this news agency.
Maseka, a Grade 11 learner, said the pain was numbing.
“I staggered out of bed to plead with the nurses but I found some napping, while another one was writing in a book. I then forced myself to get to the toilets,” she recalled.
As she left the toilet, she started bleeding. It was only then that a nurse apparently told her to take a shower and then go to a certain room where she would be prepared for delivery.
When she got to the room, there was no one there to help her. At that point, the young woman said it felt as if the baby was ready to “pop out”.
Maseka, who was at full term when she went into labour, said she called out to the nurses again, but they apparently took their time.
“I knew I was in a dangerous situation when my baby’s head popped out and I failed to push further without assistance. It felt like my baby was kicking me in the stomach while it was suffocating,” she said.
When the nurses finally came to her aid they managed to deliver the baby, but Maseka did not hear her crying. The nurses then apparently put the baby on a tray and attached it to an oxygen machine.
“I was later taken to a room where the baby lay and saw she was not moving or making a sound. I informed my mother that she should pray as the baby was on an oxygen machine,” she said.
Maseka said she only learned that her baby had died when she was informed by her mother, who had come to see her shortly after 06h00.
Vivian Ntelamo told this news agency she found Maseka’s baby covered in blood and faeces, wrapped in paper on a tray. The baby weighed 3.4 kilogrammes.
Ntelamo asked the nurses what happened but was not told the cause of death. Ntelamo and Maseka’s grandmother asked to be given the baby’s body so they could bury her on the same day.
“The nurses were not sympathetic. They told us we did not need to complete any paperwork and could take the baby for burial. I am heartbroken. That baby girl was going to be my first grandchild. My daughter is now suffering from trauma,” said Ntelamo.
Maseka’s uncle, Bernard Ntelamo said the family is considering taking legal action against the medical staff.
“We are demanding that an investigation be done into this matter. The nurses were negligent and inhuman towards our daughter while she was in labour. What she went through is horrific. The Minister of Health must explain to us why these nurses acted as such,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Minister of Health Dr Bernard Haufiku said he has not received a report of such an incident, and referred further queries to the Zambezi Health Director, Agnes Mwilima.
Mwilima also said she is not aware of the incident and said her office will investigate the matter and revert back to Nampa through the ministry’s public relations officer, Ester Paulus.