Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Dead baby swap allegations rock hospital

By Leonard Ncube

A family has accused staff at Victoria Falls District Hospital of swapping its newly-born baby with a dead infant to cover up for their negligence.

The family claims a nurse aid (name supplied) went to Ms Juliet Dube’s hospital bed in the maternity ward and asked for the baby purporting that a doctor wanted to check its temperature and returned 10 minutes later claiming that the infant had died.

Ms Dube (22) of Mkhosana suburb gave birth to a baby boy on 27 August. She said her baby looked healthy and couldn’t have suddenly died.

Her family has refused to claim the body from the hospital mortuary, accusing hospital staff of giving their baby to another woman, also from Mkhosana, after hers allegedly fell off the bed and died during delivery. The family has reported the matter to the police and yesterday went to the hospital mortuary to view the body which they said doesn’t resemble theirs. They want DNA tests done.

Ms Dube said she doesn’t believe that her baby died.

“I gave birth on a Monday and they never told me that my son had any medical condition. The only thing nurses told me was to breastfeed the baby, which I felt was normal so I don’t understand all the stories they are giving us now.

“There is a woman who gave birth on August 29 which is the day my baby is said to have died. The woman said she just woke up and found her baby on the bed as she had been unconscious,” said Ms Dube.

“The nurse aid came to me and said a doctor wanted my baby to check the temperature. I didn’t suspect anything and gave her. Ten minutes later she returned and said my baby had died, just like that. I was dumbfounded.

“They can’t say my baby had head injuries, no, that’s not correct. They may be trying to cover up for something.”

Her husband, Mr Faison Nyathi (29), said he suspected foul play because of the actions of some hospital staff.

“Nurses are giving conflicting stories. I know my baby because I went there when he was born and took some pictures. I am wondering why they refused to allow me to check on the dead body earlier and have been pushing that we burn it but we refused as a family,” he said.

Mr Nyathi said a post-mortem which was done in Bulawayo showed the baby died of hunger, head injuries and damage to the navel. “This is not true because the baby was breastfeeding. They are now accusing us of negligence. They say they told us that the baby’s navel was smelly when it was born.

“That’s not true because they never said so and if that’s the case, they should have attended to it because the mother was still in hospital,” he said. “I suspect they swapped my baby with a dead body because a certain male nurse acted funny when I went to ask for post-mortem results. He asked why I was making a follow up and whether I suspected anything.”

The family visited the hospital yesterday accompanied by Ward 11 Councillor Edmore Zhou to demand to see the body in the mortuary. After viewing the body, they said they were not satisfied before demanding a DNA test.

Ms Dube’s mother, Mrs Sithandazile Dube, said the body in the mortuary doesn’t resemble her granddaughter’s.

Mr Nyathi’s mother, Ms Thalita Sibanda, concurred. “The baby was pierced with a needle on the wrist but there is no such sign. This one looks smaller than ours which was 3.7kg when it was born and we want DNA tests done,” she said.

Meanwhile, dozens of angry Mkhosana residents had to be restrained by Clr Zhou from besieging the hospital. The residents are planning to raise funds for DNA tests to be done to solve the matter.

Matabeleland North police spokesperson Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese said she was yet to receive a report on the matter. Acting Hwange District Medical Officer Dr Selleman Saidi said he could not comment on the issue. The Chronicle