SA woman sues over unauthorised hysterectomy while a minor

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A doctor she consulted when she was trying to conceive confirmed that Bongekile Msibi’s uterus had been surgically removed after she gave birth by caesarean section when she was 17, in 2017. New Frame reports that Msibi went back to the hospital where she gave birth and demanded answers. She said one doctor admitted he was there when the procedure was done. He said Msibi had signed a document that permitted the hsyterectomy.

Subsequently, the doctor changed his story and said Msibi’s mother signed the consent forms. Msibi took her mother to a follow-up meeting with the doctor. “My mother confirmed that she never signed anything. She knows absolutely nothing about my uterus being removed.”

The report says Msibi has written to the health department but she is disappointed with how the department has responded.

New Frame reports that in February this year, the Commission for Gender Equality released a report that detailed the testimonies of more than 40 mostly HIV-positive black women who claimed to have been forcibly sterilised in public health facilities across the country.

Some of the commission’s recommendations included holding a dialogue between the health department and the complainants to find a way to rectify the wrongs. The Health Department should also print the consent forms in all 11 official languages, and an explanation of the medical procedure should be explained in the patient’s language of choice.

The chairperson of the commission, Tamara Mathebula, said the findings and the recommendations of the report were shared with the health department. She said it asked the commission to provide copies of the medical records and affidavits of the complainants.

The report says a letter of demand has subsequently been issued after the department continued to delay action. The commission also asked the SA Nurses Union and Health Professionals Council of SA to implement the recommendations and hold the implicated medical professionals accountable.

Health Department spokesperson Popo Maja said provincial health departments have been asked to investigate the allegations. He said the health department will implement the recommendations once there’s a mutual understanding between the department and the commission.

Meanwhile, Msibi has taken legal action against the provincial health department for removing her uterus without her consent. The matter is before the court.

 

Full New Frame report

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