Nurses 'drink tea while mom gives birth'

Laughed at and then threatened with physical violence by a group of
nurses, a Pretoria mother was forced to give birth unaided before she
was chased from a clinic.

The mother, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals from nurses
at Soshanguve Clinic, gave birth to a healthy baby boy last Sunday.

The 34-year-old woman was one of three women who gave birth without
assistance at the clinic that day.

One of the infants was believed to be in grave danger after his
umbilical cord wrapped around his neck during delivery, with his mother,
bleeding from complications, having to free him on her own while nurses
at the Soshanguve Community Health Centre in Block BB sat back, watched
and "drank tea".

The startling revelation comes days after the Pretoria News revealed how
Fanie Jansen van Vuuren, who had his colon removed because of cancer
last year, lay in his own faeces for nearly three days in Steve Biko
Academic Hospital last week after follow-up operations allegedly went
awry, with nurses ignoring his pleas for help.

The latest disclosure on the shocking state of government hospitals in
Tshwane comes as the Department of Health is beset by a lack of
resources and cash to procure food and medical supplies needed for patients.

The Pretoria News has learnt that after the woman's mother alerted her
employer, who visited the clinic last week to question the clinic's
staff, the new mother was threatened days later by nurses when she took
her baby to the clinic for a check-up.

"If they don't want to work as nurses then they should not be in the
profession," she said.

She added she had gone to get answers and to see for herself what was
happening at the clinic.

"They were very apologetic about their colleagues' behaviour, but I am
not the one they should have apologised to," she said.

She said one of the sisters told her the reason the incident happened
was that the clinic was understaffed and had "too many patients",
rendering it unable to provide a proper service.

"While I understand this, it is unacceptable because the nurses were
apparently not busy, but sitting around and having tea."

She said: "When I asked one of them why they were not helping the
mothers at the clinic, one of the nurses grabbed me, saying she would
slap me.

"She told me to never come back and said I must find another clinic.
When I told her that was the closest clinic to my house, she said she
would "get me" if I came back.

"When I was in labour and asked for help, three of the nurses laughed at
me and told me to do it myself. They said I had got myself into the
situation, and must get out of it."

This article was originally published on page 1 of **Pretoria News*
<http://www.pretorianews.co.za/>* on June 01, 2009 (summarised)


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