Mother seeks answers over death of baby

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Selma Ikela

Windhoek-A 38-year-old woman is demanding answers from Windhoek Central Hospital on how her newborn baby died a week ago despite pre-natal check-ups indicating the baby was healthy and ready to be delivered.

The mother, Ester Amoomo, says after passing her delivery date of July 14 the doctor told her to go to hospital on July 18 to be induced, but the nurses who observed her refused to heed her call when she requested to be operated on because of prolonged labour, and her pain having intensified after spending the whole day at the hospital. Amoomo said she was initially told she would deliver her baby on July 8 but after going for a sonar she was told it would be July 14.

According to the death certificate Amoomo’s baby died from severe mecomin aspiration (MAS) syndrome. Healthline explained MAS occurs when the baby experiences stress that often results when the amount of oxygen to the foetus is reduced.

Common causes of foetal stress include a pregnancy that goes past the due date (more than 40 weeks) or difficult or prolonged labour, amongst others.

But before the operation, Amoomo said, she had pleaded again with a doctor who observed her on July 19 around 2am that her labour pains were unbearable although she was only 3cm dilated.

“I asked the doctor if I could get operated on. The doctor refused, saying he didn’t see the reason for an operation.”

Amoomo went to the hospital the morning of July 18 as instructed by the doctor, however she had labour pains and wasn’t induced. Her first check-up was in the morning around 09h00 and she was only 1cm dilated.

According to an online explanation on mothers’ space, during labour the woman’s cervix stretches from 0cm to a fully dilated 10cm. To deliver a full term baby, the cervix must be dilated to about 10cm.

However, the morning of July 19, after the nurses noticed her baby’s breathing was irregular and her condition appeared unwell, they rushed her to theatre and made her sign documents to have an emergency operation.

After the operation, Amoomo said, the nurses failed to show her the baby and tell her its sex. She only got to know all this when her relatives visited her in hospital later in the day and inquired the whereabouts of her baby from the nurses.

“I asked the nurses where the baby was and was told the baby was tired and was put on machines,” the mother said.

About 14 hours later the doctor on duty approached Amoomo while fast asleep in the morning at 02h00 of July 20 and woke her and told her the baby had passed on, she said.
During their conversation the doctor had said the nurses wrote in her health passport that she arrived at the hospital on July 19 and the baby was tired, which she refuted, she said.

“He further asked if I was induced and if the nurses told me what it meant that the baby was born tired – I said no and he explained,” said Amoomo.

According to the doctor, it was a prolonged birth and the baby defecated in the tummy and the baby later ate the waste which went into its lungs, she said.

The doctor said it is difficult to operate on the baby to clean its lungs because it is tiny hence it was put on the machine to clear the waste from its lungs, she added.

“I had so many questions. The hospital is hiding something – they are hiding the truth from me and the baby was born dead, hence the nurses putting me under full aneasthesia for me not to see what’s going on,” she recollected.

Manga Libita the public relations officer at the Ministry of Health and Social Services did not respond to questions forwarded to her.

1 COMMENT

  1. Seriously I don’t know what is wrong with the nurses at central hospital. You ask them what is wrong with the baby and they just tell you it is infection. My baby died last month in that hospital as well. This things of student nurses attending to pregnant people alone is also increasing the death of babies. Our government need to provide sonar checkup on every ANC visit at clinic, may be that will help

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