A young Mitchells Plain mom has accused the Health Department of negligence after her newborn baby died when nurses allegedly told her they were on a tea break and could not help her.
First-time mom Ruwayda Dohardien, 21, says she is traumatised after running around at Mitchells Plain Community Health Centre (CHC) begging for help as her baby, Riyaaz, struggled to breathe.
She says she gave birth at the CHC on 3 March and was discharged with her bundle of joy on the same day.
“They told me to come back on 5 March (for a check-up) and I did,” she says.
“When I got there, I was sitting in the line waiting to see the nurse and they came out, saying they are going on tea. There was a mommy in front of me in the line. Riyaaz was fine when I got there but while I was waiting, he started crying and I was comforting him.
“Then I saw something was not right and he was struggling to breathe. The nurses were gone and so I ran to the birth registration desk.”
She says she was sent to an Aids counsellor who rushed with her to the nurses.
“She took me to the canteen and the nurses told her that they are on a tea break and we must go to the section where you give birth,” says Ruwayda.
“We went there and the doctor was with him and a while later they told me Riyaaz was dead and I still don’t know what the cause of death is.”
However, Health Department spokesperson Monique Johnstone says the infant was declared “dead on arrival”.
“Upon arrival at the facility with the baby, the Senior Medical Officer was urgently contacted to assist with the infant,” says Johnstone.
“Several attempts were made to resuscitate the child, but he was sadly declared dead on arrival as there was no blood flow to the brain. The incident was managed appropriately and no negligence was identified after attempts were made to save the infant’s life.”
Johnstone adds that Ruwayda was supposed to return on 4 March for her post-natal check-up.
A shocked Ruwayda insists her baby boy was fine when she arrived at the facility on the date she was given.
“He was alive and he was fine, he started crying while I was waiting in the line,” she says.
Her brother-in-law, Nasrudeen Jacobs, 41, says the family has been left traumatised.
“We are still in shock of the passing of Riyaaz and we will never get over it cause we waited for him to be born. We were looking forward to spending the rest of our lives with him,” the heartbroken man says.