Durban – A Phoenix couple are traumatised after the death of their 5-week-old baby, which they alleged was due to the negligence of medical staff at the Phoenix Community Health Centre.
Lisa Juthan said her daughter, Shariya Lerisse Juthan, was her miracle baby, as she was born after several miscarriages.
Juthan said her daughter got sick and had diarrhoea on August 18.
She gave her sugar water but, when she was not getting better, called her husband from work and they went to a doctor.
Juthan said the doctor referred them to the Phoenix clinic, as the baby was severely dehydrated and needed to be placed on a drip.
“He (the doctor) said he didn’t want to take a chance with the baby because she was in a serious condition and that she needed a drip.”
The mother said when they arrived at the clinic at 2.30pm, she informed the doctor on duty that her daughter needed to be placed on a drip.
“I advised him that baby was dehydrated and had a continuous running tummy. He then asked me to lift her top and he pulled the skin of her tummy and said to me this baby is very dehydrated and in a bad condition.”
She said she was advised to feed Shariya milk and a clear liquid.
“I explained to them that I have been continuously feeding milk since that morning and it didn’t help keep her hydrated.”
The distraught mother said she waited for more than two hours, without anyone checking on the baby’s condition.
“I got very scared, as my baby was only 5-weeks old and her condition was getting worse.”
She said although she told the nurse several times that the baby was getting worse, the doctor allegedly left the clinic without checking up on Shariya.
“Her eyes were starting to pop out, her bones were almost visible, her face became sunken and wrinkled, like an old person.”
The nurse who gave her the liquid to feed the baby ignored requests to assess the baby’s condition, Juthan alleged.
“After I saw baby’s face shrinking while in the rehydration room, I asked her ‘what is the liquid doing because the baby is getting worse?’ She told me, with a bad attitude, that I must not teach her her job.”
She said her husband stopped another doctor and asked for help, but “he never even checked the baby and just told us to keep feeding milk and the clear liquid”.
Juthan said she waited for more than two hours for another doctor to re-examine her daughter.
She said minutes after the third doctor arrived, she began taking down notes on a chart and asked to see the baby’s face.
“At that very minute, baby’s eyes started to roll upwards and her mouth closed, with her lip moving very slowly up and down.”
She said the doctor asked the nurse to “put up a line”, which she assumed was a drip. Juthan said she was then asked to step outside.
She said some time later, she was informed that her baby had died.
“My husband and I are taking it very badly, we don’t sleep at night and we are traumatised. Every time we close our eyes, we picture our baby and the state we saw her in.”
She said her 8-year-old daughter was also taking her sister’s death badly and had not been eating.
“We waited so long for this baby to come, we had so many miscarriages and then, finally, our baby came into this world – but then she left us so quickly.”
KZN Department of Health spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa said the death of any individual was a sad occasion.
“Without prejudice, the department sends its condolences to the affected family,” he said.
Maphisa said the department had engaged with the management of the concerned facility.
“A preliminary report has been produced, which indicates facts contrary to allegations.
“It details numerous clinical interventions that were made to assist the patient – including attempts at resuscitation,” he said.
Maphisa said a meeting was scheduled for later this week, where all concerns would be addressed.