A Kempton Park mother is suing the Gauteng health MEC for damages after one of her twins died at birth because of the alleged negligence of staff at the Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria four years ago.
The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria this week granted an order allowing Nadia Theron, 33, to proceed with her claim, despite her failure to institute the R250 000 damages claim within the legally prescribed period.
Theron was referred to the Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria in 2012 after a sonar showed that she was pregnant with twins.
She said she had attended all of her antenatal visits at her local clinic and the hospital and was assured by staff that, apart from her relatively high blood pressure, her pregnancy was progressing normally.
She said in court papers when she was admitted to the hospital on the afternoon of October 30, 2012, to deliver her twin babies, both foetal hearts were still beating normally and she was told that a Caesarean section would be performed the next day.
She had to receive an emergency Caesarean an hour later and said she was utterly shocked, surprised and dismayed when a nurse later informed her that her baby daughter Leah had passed away. Her daughter’s twin brother, Kyle, survived.
According to Theron, she immediately suspected possible negligence, but only confirmed her suspicion after consulting an obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Christiaan Sevenster, in October last year.
Sevenster said in a report that medical staff who attended to the labour process had been negligent in that they failed to deliver Theron’s baby daughter timeously. He said he could not understand why the twins were not delivered at 37 weeks to minimise the possibility of death and were only booked for delivery at 39 weeks.
The fact that Theron was made to walk between wards after rupture of the membranes with the first of the twins presenting as a breach was unacceptable as a prolapse of the umbilical cord was probable under the circumstances, he added.
Theron said her daughter’s death could and should have been prevented. She claimed damages not only for funeral expenses, but also for her emotional shock and trauma, pain and suffering. The MEC has denied any negligence.