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How safe is your newborn?

Mom sues after her newborn baby is left to fall on the floor.

newborn baby

 Image: via Shutterstock

Birth can be a time of celebration- welcoming your baby into the world after months of hoping and waiting- or it can be a time of pain and trauma. This mom had one of the worst birth experiences imaginable, when, in serious pain herself after giving birth in a hospital corridor, her newborn baby sustained injuries when it fell on the floor, according to News24.

Handle with care?

The distraught mother has sued the Thusanong hospital in Odendaalsrus after she had to undergo three painful surgeries in order to repair tearing she had sustained while in labour. Besides suing the hospital, she has also sued the Congolese doctor who carried out the allegedly botched surgical repairs.

A newborn infant is obviously vulnerable to any sort of violent trauma, and in this case, a fall on the floor was enough for the newborn to receive a painful welcome into the world.

While a hospital birth is supposed to provide care for the mom and baby during labour, Mapitso Mokhuane was left to wait for a long time before she was assisted, and then left to give birth on her own. After delivery, the baby fell on the floor.

Hospital care in SA is extremely varied: Some moms report happy birth experiences, while others endure nightmares, sometimes so bad that their babies die as a result of negligence, particularly when the babies are exposed to bugs when handled by nursing staff not following correct hygiene procedures.

How can you avoid a hospital birth trauma?

  • A friendly visit: Most hospitals will allow expectant moms to visit their facilities so that they can know what to expect. Unfortunately, overworked and understaffed state hospitals may not have the time to show an expectant mom around.
  • Take time to prepare: Make sure to use the months leading up to birth to inform yourself about birth plans and choices, including whether or not to involve a midwife or doula (birth partner), home birth vs. hospital birth and, for some moms, the Caesarean option.
  • Make sure you have someone with you to help out if you can’t be sure that nursing staff will take care of your baby. That way, if the ward is short-staffed, or if something unusual happens, you will have someone who can hold the baby while you are being taken care of.
  • If you know someone else who has to rely on very basic hospital services, offer to be there for support during and after the birth.
  • The hospital in question denies any wrongdoing, but it does make sense to make sure that what should be a happy moment isn’t turned into one of pain and trauma by checking the facilities before you book yourself in for the big day.

How would you rate your hospital birth, on a scale of one to ten?


By: By Scott Dunlop

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