Mom sues for R14.9m after “bungled’ birth
MEC AND GROOTE SCHUUR TARGETED IN LAWSUIT AFTER ONE BABY IS STILLBORN AND TWIN IS PARALYSED
A Hout Bay woman is suing the Western Cape Health MEC for R14.9 million after complications during child birth at Groote Shcuur Hospital left one of her twins dead and the other paralyzed for life. Court papers filed at the Cape High Court have revealed that the surviving twin, Xaiden, now aged three, will never be able to walk, speak properly, feed himself or attend to his personal hygiene.
He will never be able to work and earn a income and will need to have 24 hour assistance from professional caregivers, the paper reveals. Out of the R14.9 million, R11.8 million was for his future medical expenses, including a pediatrician, a neurosurgeon, an orthopedic surgeon, pediatric radiography, periodic admission to hospital, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and the service of a social worker.
According to papers filed at the High Court, the mother, Tania Van Rooyen, 24, discovered that she had a mono-amniotic and mono-chorionic twin pregnancy, commonly known as mono twins. This means the foetuses shared the same amniotic sac and same placenta. She was admitted to the hospital on August4, 2006 and by 10pm her cervix was fully dilated. Van Rooyen alleged that by midnight, medical and nursing personnel told her to push. This process was eventually abandoned and hours later, an abdominal ultrasound was performed which prompted staff to decide that a caesarean section birth was necessary.
She was admitted to the theatre and a caesarean section was performed. But the twins were found to be interlocked. Can Rooyen alleges in the papers that the staff attempted to force the delivery of one of the twins through vacuum extraction and forceps, leading to the death of the foetus. In addition she said that they did not take her to theatre immediately to preserve the life of the other foetus and to avoid any injury to Xaiden. One of the twins was delivered stillborn and the other suffered severe hypoxia (a deprivation of oxygen).
He required immediate resuscitation and is now permanently disabled due to cerebral palsy. Van Rooyen alleges the hospital should have made her a high risk patient and advised her of the risk involved in delivering mono twins. She added that the staff had failed to monitor the labour appropriately and to diagnose the interlocking of the twins.
They also failed to monitor the foetal heart rates and maternal contractions and to react to the signs of the foetal distress. She claimed that the hospital failed to provide her with the requisite medical, surgical, nursing and midwifery services. However, the MEC has denied the allegations of negligence and filed responding papers last week. He said in the papers that staff had determined that Van Rooyen had a twin pregnancy with a single placenta. However, the MEC alleges that it had however been confirmed beyond doubt that it was a mono pregnancy. He said a vacuum extraction had been unsuccessful.
A vaginal examination showed that Xaiden’s head was stuck under the chin of the other twin. He said there was no excessive force used during the vacuum procedure and confirmed that the twins were interlocked and that one was stillborn. The MEC added that hospital staff had a full appreciation that the fact that Van Rooyen was a high risk patient, and that repeated ultrasound examinations were performed to ensure foetal wellbeing.
He said Van Rooyen had been “more than adequately monitored” and nothing had been done which an experienced gynecologist could have done differently. A date has not yet been set for the case.