HOSPITAL HORROR: Mums, newborns sleep on chairs!

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Councillor Xoliswa Peter is unhappy that women who had just given birth were forced to sleep in chairs all night. Photo by Lulekwa Mbadamane
Councillor Xoliswa Peter is unhappy that women who had just given birth were forced to sleep in chairs all night. Photo by Lulekwa Mbadamane

GIVING birth is usually a beautiful experience for most women.

But this was not the case for some women who had just given birth at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town on Saturday, 11 March.

This is because they were allegedly made to sleep on chairs after they had just given birth.

Four women who spoke to Daily Sun said they were moved to the waiting room where they had to sit holding their newborns all night.

They alleged that hospital staff told them there were not enough beds, so they had to sit on the chairs all night.

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One of the women said it was not easy.

“I had to sleep with my newborn in my hands, as I couldn’t put him anywhere. This was just a few hours after I had given birth, so the child was still fragile,” she said.

A Khayelitsha councillor, Xoliswa Peter, said one of the women called her in the middle of the night, complaining about the treatment at the hospital.

“Some of them were bleeding in the chairs and nobody was taking care of them. There was no time for them to rest after they had given birth,” said Peter.

She said she tried to call the hospital and some health officials to help the women, but was unsuccessful.

Peter said she only slept at about 2am on Sunday morning, 12 March after she tried everything, but couldn’t get help for the mums and their babies.

“Labour itself is not easy, then you get such bad treatment from the hospital. It is unacceptable. One of the women was carrying twins. I do not want to racialise this matter, but it's a pity to say all the women who were made to sit are African women,” said Peter.

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Tygerberg Hospital spokeswoman Laticia Pienaar said the women had no complications, so they were discharged on the same day after giving birth.

She said the hospital is facing overcrowding challenges.

“We acknowledge that there are times when the labour ward is 100% full, with patients in delivery and other women still waiting to be seen. On the weekend in question, standard procedure was followed in discharging mothers who had uncomplicated (safe) vaginal delivery within six to eight hours. There was no need for admission into a ward bed as they were already discharged,” said Pienaar.

She said that it is a standard experience that mothers usually prefer to stay at the hospital until the morning if they have given birth late at night.

“In these circumstances and when the ward is full of expectant mothers, lazy-boy chairs and chairs that convert into a makeshift bed are made available to those who have already had a safe delivery and have been discharged.

"These chairs act as a bed to provide mothers with a comfortable space on which they can sleep as the beds in the ward were occupied by mothers in labour,” said Pienaar.

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