Mother believes negligence led to KZN baby’s arm amputation

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A Shakas Head woman is heartbroken after what she believes to be negligence at Stanger Hospital resulted in her newborn baby having his right arm amputated, reports The Citizen. Phindile Mpanza gave birth to Kuyakhanya Mpanza by caesarean section on 6 February and both mother and child were kept in hospital for a week. All she was told was that her baby’s blood sugar was low – she was given no further explanation.

“A drip was inserted into his arm… On the 12th, I realised that the baby’s arm was becoming cold, swollen and it was changing colour. It was turning purple,” said the distressed mother. She reported the problem to a nurse, but she was told she must wait for a doctor. The child was distressed and clearly in pain, but nothing was done to alleviate the problem. A doctor eventually came and checked the baby, but he told the mother that they would monitor the drip and went away.

He returned after an hour for a check-up, but the drip remained in Kuyakhanya’s arm, despite her protests. The drip was removed on the 13th. but the baby’s condition did not improve. At 1am on the 14th, mother and baby were transferred to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, but it was already too late to save Kuyakhanya’s arm. “That is when they told me that I must allow them to cut off the arm, as it was now infected, otherwise my baby would die. “My baby was in pain for the whole day and nothing was done to help him. It was so stressful and heartbreaking,” she said.

The report says while at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, she received a call from one of the managers at Stanger hospital, apologising for the hospital’s error. “When I was discharged, I went to the hospital with my mother and brother. I was told by the management that I made the correct decision by not going to media or taking legal action,” said Mpanza. She now needs to travel to Stanger hospital three or four times a week for the baby to be checked up and to have the bandage changed.

The report says as much as the hospital reportedly apologised, it was still not clearly explained to her what exactly happened and what led to the baby to losing his arm. Nor was she told whether any action would be taken against the employees for the negligence.

KZN Health Department spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said they were unable to comment: “As the law does not permit it (the department) to discuss confidential clinical information or the management of any patient with a third party, including the media.” “The department can, however, confirm that hospital management met with the parents of one of its patients on March 2, 2017, to discuss issues related to the care and management of a patient,” said Mkwananzi.

He asked healthcare users to follow the department’s “compliments and complaints” mechanism by approaching the management of health facilities where they received health care services, or the Health Ombudsman to register any query or grievance that they may have.

The Citizen report

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