A woman from Khayelitsha in Cape Town is speaking out about her traumatic experience at Tygerberg Hospital, where she lost five children earlier this year. Nolupho Funani, 35, says she was pregnant with five children but learned during a scan that three of them had died.
On February 25th, she gave birth to two live babies and three stillborn children. Funani accuses the hospital of failing to save the remaining two children. She claims that instead of having a caesarean section to save the children, she was forced to give birth naturally.
Funani said the nurses asked her to push the babies out, even though they were only 25 weeks old. She begged them to perform a caesarean section, but no one listened. When she eventually gave birth to two live babies, nurses put them in the same tray as the stillborn babies. She said it was despite the fact that her children were crying.
“When I protested, the nurses refused to put them in an incubator. To make matters worse, I heard one of the nurses asking her colleague that was passing if it was ‘normal for someone to have five children’,” said Funani.
She added the nurses ill-treated her and her children that were born alive. “One of them said, ‘they will eventually die so there is no need’. I was hurt because they really didn’t care about my kids,” she said.
Western Cape Health and Wellness Department spokesman Byron La Hoe confirmed that Funani attended the hospital but denied mistreatment. He said there was no medical indication for an operative delivery and that there were no live babies on February 25th.
While acknowledging the loss, La Hoe said they were unable to confirm the allegations made by Funani. He added that intensive ante-natal counselling was provided during her visits and that the hospital informed her of the high-risk pregnancy and risk of spontaneous miscarriage during a sonar appointment. On February 9th, a sonar revealed that three of the fetuses had no heartbeat.
Funani said the Tygerberg is covering up their incompetence. “If all my kids were stillborn, why would I put a dead child on my chest?” she asked.