Namibia: Omaruru Mother Blames Hospital for Baby’s Death

A 19-YEAR-OLD woman from Omaruru who was in labour for nearly 36 hours before giving birth to a baby who died shortly afterwards has accused medical staff of negligence.

Johanna Ndjuluwa said she is suffering physically and emotionally from the trauma she experienced at the Omaruru State Hospital from 19 to 20 February.

“I feel I cannot recover from this ordeal. This was my first baby. When I am alone, I think of this horrible experience. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. I want justice for the loss of my little boy,” she told The Namibian on Saturday.

She said his name would have been Matthew.

Ndjuluwa said she went into labour around 10h00 on 19 February and experienced pain until the next morning before a doctor examined her.

“I was getting tired. No one helped me. They just said the baby would come. The next morning, I asked them to operate on me, but the doctor just said ‘no’, I should give birth on my own,” she explained.

Her contractions continued until noon on 20 February when the next hospital shift took over.

“The nurse told me to go to the bathroom and provide a urine sample. As I got out of bed, I fell, and my water broke. While lying on the floor, I called my mother for help because I could not get up or walk, but the nurse said ‘no’, I should get up by myself.

“She said I was pretending, and forbade my mother from helping. I struggled up, but went back onto the bed,” she said.

Ndjuluwa added that she never had a sonar in her nine months of pregnancy to determine the baby’s position or size at the hospital.

Around 14h00, a nurse told her to walk to the delivery room. She lay on the delivery bed, but no one attended to her as the nurses were allegedly attending to other matters.

“I screamed until a nurse told me not to push. I said I was not pushing; the baby was pushing. The nurse then said I was stubborn and did not want to listen to her,” Ndjuluwa said.

After two hours, the doctor examined her and assured her that she would be fine.

“I said I was tired and the baby was tired, and then the nurse said she was also tired, and that the doctor must help. That nurse’s shift ended, and she knocked off,” the sad woman said.

The next team of nurses started their shift at 19h00. Ndjuluwa claims they also did not attend to her.

“I screamed again, and they finally attended to me. My mother was standing at the door, watching. I touched the arm of one of the nurses, who told me not to touch her. I asked my mother for help, but they asked her to leave the room. They did not listen until my mother came in and forced them to cut, and pulled the baby by the arm. They administered oxygen, but he died,” she narrated.

The delivery finally took place at 21h34, according to the birth report seen by The Namibian, which further reads: “Attempts to resuscitate failed and pulsation … ceased… baby declared dead…”

The weight of baby Matthew was 3,83kg. He was 51cm tall, with a head circumference of 32cm. The death certificate states that he died of ‘cardiopulmonary arrest’, a failure of the heart and lungs.

Ndjuluwa believes his death could have been avoided had they listened to her and operated on her as the baby felt too big for normal delivery.

“They invited me back to the hospital a week later to explain what labour and birth entails. They refused to listen to my side, what I think, and how the nurses treated me. I cannot accept their explanation,” she told this newspaper.

Erongo health director Amir Shaker said it was difficult to comment as the claims were very serious, and involved the death of a child. He said the matter required a proper investigation.

“The correct procedures have to be followed to be able to help the mother. Claims of carelessness and the ensuing death are very serious. She must write a letter to me, and also name the people who seemingly mistreated her, and then we can take proper action,” said Shaker.


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Publish date : 2019-03-11 10:19:03

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