Sister grilled in pregnancy death suit
Punching holes in the defense’s case in the Cape High Court yesterday, questions were raised about how nurses at the obstetrics unit at Site B Clinic in Khayelitsha could fail to notice that a woman died of severe bleeding was pregnant. One second day of cross-examination before Judge Pat Gamble, Advocate Jannie van der Merwe suggested to sister Visa Ngcukwana that when Nomglobo Siyatha came to the clinic, she had almost carried to term.
Both siyatha and the baby died. Siyatha widower, Mlamu Arthur Siyathe-who is also suing
Dr I Gilexwa- is suing Health MEC Theuns Botha over Nomglobo’s death, in his personal capacity, claiming there was gross negligence when his wife was left untreated by staff at the clinic. He is seeking R1.5 million in damages. The defense has denied any wrongdoing, claiming instead that Nomglobo had refused and resisted all attempts to aid her.
Ngcukwana, who was one of the sisters on duty on January 30, 2005 when Nomglobo arrived et the clinic, has since testified that she was only aware of Nomglobo’s pregnancy much later, as she was not given the opportunity to examine her. ”But it’s an obstetrics unit,” said Van der Merwe. “People who come there pregnant, so what went through your minds when you saw her?” Ngcukwana said that sometimes patients went to the “wrong place, instead of where they were suppose to go” meaning that they ended up at the obstetrics unit unintentionally.
Asked whether she had questioned any of the relatives who had accompanied Nomglobo about her condition, Ngcukwana said she had decided not to. “I even tried to hold (Nomglobo’s) hand, but she refused it,” said Ngcukwana. Questions were also raised about how long Nomglobo had been at the clinic before being taken elsewhere the case continues.