New Era (Windhoek)

8 August 2012

Namibia: Mother Loses Baby, Uterus Ruptured

Not only has a 39-year-old Okahandja woman lost her unborn baby, but the distraught mother of three has also lost her uterus and any chances of giving birth in future.

During an exclusive interview with New Era, Kee Kauazunda explained her horrific experience, allegedly at the hands of medical staff of the Okahandja State Hospital on July 30 and 31. What was supposed to be a joyous occasion - the birth of her fourth child ended up in a nightmare for Kauazunda when she lost her unborn baby girl through what she ascribed to negligence by medical personnel at the hospital.

This is the fifth baby death reported this year in the country. Other reported incidents were from the Windhoek Central and Katutura State hospitals where four babies and two mothers died.

"I was admitted into hospital on 30 July when I experienced labour pains. I was 7 centimeters open when my water broke, but I waited for over an hour to get further assistance. I then started bleeding," she explained. According to Kauazunda, two nurses checked the heartbeat of the unborn baby upon her arrival at the hospital and everything was fine.

"They [the nurses] were feeling me with their fingers, but I do not know what it is that they found," she further explained, adding that it was only the following day that another nurse who started her shift on July 31 realised that her unborn baby's heart was no longer beating.

"They rushed me to the sonar, where a doctor told me that the baby is no longer breathing," she said. The devastated mother said her unborn baby was healthy throughout her pregnancy up until she was admitted to the hospital to deliver. Kauazunda went on to explain that she was prepared for an operation in the theatre, since she was unable to push a dead baby.

"After they removed the baby, they told me that my uterus had torn beyond repair and that I will not be able to give birth again," she said. "I spent almost four hours in the theatre, because they were struggling to stitch my uterus back together," said Kauazunda, adding that the hospital staff could not explain how the uterus was damaged.

The distraught mother was discharged on Monday. However, she is concerned about her future health seeing as her uterus is damaged. "I was told to come back on Wednesday (today)," she added. "I do not know what to do," she complained.

No one was available for comment from the Okahandja State Hospital yesterday. When approached for comment, Public Outreach Manager at the Gender Research and Advocacy Project of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), Rachel Coomer, advised that the victim should lay a formal written complaint with the head of the hospital and approach the LAC for further assistance. According to Coomer, it is advisable to lay a complaint through the correct channels within the health ministry before the LAC can get involved.

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