The Mpumalanga department of health has dismissed allegations that a 31-year-old woman was left alone to deliver her own baby at a local hospital.
Ester Mnisi claims that nursing staff at Mapulaneng Hospital in Bushbuckridge ignored her pleas for help on Sunday, September 17, when she went into labour.
"It was on Sunday, around six in the morning, when I arrived at the hospital with my family as my water broke.
"We greeted the nurses, but they just kept quiet until we asked why. Their response was that they were tired and had been delivering too many babies on that day.
"They said they were about to wrap up for the seven o'clock shift and that we should wait our turn," Mnisi said.
The Mpumalanga woman said she could feel the baby coming, but when she told the nurses this, they sent her off to a room.
"I started screaming and begged for them to help me deliver the baby. They dismissed me and said my time to deliver was still far and they left and slammed the door behind them.
"I screamed out to my mother, but the nurses came back and bullied me, asking me if I want my mom to be my nurse," she said.
Mnisi said her labour pains became more severe.
"I delivered the baby all by myself. They only showed up to help me pull the rest of the umbilical cord. They did not even report to me that my baby had respiratory problems, something I suspect happened because I delivered the baby by myself," said Mnisi.
Nurses in 'profession for money not love'
She claimed that hospital staff had hurled insults at her.
"They accused me of being weak. They said that I should not be crying over labour pains, but that I should smile like I was smiling during the sexual intercourse," claimed Mnisi.
She said the incident had upset her, adding that many other women experienced the same treatment.
"Especially if you don't have medical aid, because you are automatically faced with nurses who seem to be in the profession for money, not love and compassion," she said.
Provincial health department spokesperson Dumisani Malamule said anyone found guilty of conduct such as that alleged by Mnisi would be dealt with accordingly.
"With regard to the complaint brought by the patient against Mapulaneng Hospital, the department would like to state that, according to the medical records of the patient, the condition of the baby was satisfactory and the baby was fully conscious at delivery. The first examination of the baby indicated that there were no abnormalities observed," said Malamule.
"The record shows that the patient was monitored during labour until delivery, where she was assisted by the midwife. She was checked at 06:40 and was due for hourly checks, so she delivered at 07:00, before the next checking.
"The allegation brought forward by the patient that nurses refused her to see the child, while allegedly experiencing breathing problems, cannot be substantiated as the baby never had respiratory problems in terms of the record," Malamule.