Limpopo Health disputes claims that baby fractured arm at birth

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The Limpopo Health Department is disputing claims that a newborn baby sustained an arm fracture during birth, saying evidence at the disposal of the hospital indicates the baby’s injury was sustained outside the premises under the care of the parents. The Citizen reports that this comes after the baby’s father, Christopher Dumisani Mdluli, said his daughter’s arm was broken during delivery at St Ritas Hospital in Jane Furse, Sekhukhune.

Mdluli says the baby would not stop crying after birth, and that he personally went to the doctor responsible for the maternity ward, where the doctor admitted he had noticed something was not right with the baby’s arm.

However, the report says, the department hit back at the claims, saying the parents should take full responsibility instead of wrongfully accusing the hospital’s personnel.

The department’s spokesperson, Neil Shikwambana, confirmed the baby was born at St Rita’s on 17 April via caesarean and after delivery, the baby was checked by a paediatric doctor, who indicated it had no complications, no fractures or swelling of any kind.

“There was no sign of discomfort by the baby as it was able to sleep comfortably. The baby stayed in hospital for three days for the sole reason that the mother was still recovering from the operation before being discharged,” he said.

The report says Shikwambana further explained that on the sixth day, the mother took the baby to the local clinic for immunisation, where nurses did not detect any fracture or swelling. “It was only on the ninth day after the baby was discharged from hospital that the parents brought the baby back claiming the baby’s hand was fractured during delivery. An X- ray was immediately conducted on the baby and revealed that, indeed, the baby had sustained a fracture on the bone between the elbow and the shoulder and the fracture was still very fresh. The baby was treated and is now healed,” Shikwambana said.

He reiterated that the department disputed Mdluli’s version of events that the baby sustained the fracture during birth.

Shikwambana is quoted in the report as saying that the health department was working tirelessly to turn the state of services in public hospitals around. “It is therefore undesirable for people to make non-existing accusations against hospitals because this casts aspersions on the capacity of the public healthcare system and causes unnecessary and undesired public distrust between public institutions and the communities we serve. Where mistakes occur, we will accept and correct, but they must be genuine, not imaginary,” he said.

The Citizen report

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