Hospital blamed for deaths of mum and unborn baby

Emelda on the day of her baby shower.

A Croftdene man, who will see the face of his daughter for the first time in a coffin tomorrow, is proceeding with a lawsuit against RK Khan Hospital following the death of his unborn baby and wife.

Faik Modicka, 27, claimed his 22-year-old wife, Emelda, and eight-month-old unborn baby died as a result of negligence by staff at the local hospital, who allegedly mistook water in her lungs for her being in labour.

Modicka further claimed that the doctor who had been in the delivery room with his wife, told him after she passed on, that she is human and everyone makes mistakes and learns from them. He attributes her death and the death of his unborn daughter to negligence by hospital staff, who he claimed should have examined his wife and found the cause of her having difficulty breathing instead of assuming she was in labour.

Calling for the doctor’s immediate suspension, the distraught widower told journalists that he will pursue the matter so that his wife and baby’s death won’t go in vain and said that he wants the hospital’s shoddy staff to be held accountable for their actions in order to prevent further deaths.

“I took my wife to the hospital last Monday at 9am as she had difficulty breathing. We went to the trauma unit and explained to the nurses that she was eight months and one week into her pregnancy and that she was finding it hard to breathe, however, she was sent straight to the pre-labour ward where she was told that she was in labour. She had no pain or any other symptoms indicating that she was in labour and I left her in the hospital with her mother and returned to work. She kept telling the nurses that she had difficulty breathing and that she was not feeling well and the nurses told her that it was normal and she must relax as she is in labour. I went to visit her at 7pm and she looked fine,” he explained.

He said that she was in no pain but still had difficulty breathing. “She told me that the nurses had given her oxygen once and told her that she in labour and will be fine. At 8:30pm, my wife convinced me to go home and said she will call me when she starts getting labour pains and I can come back to the hospital. At 9:30pm, I received a call from nursing staff who told me that my wife was in labour and that I go to the hospital. I was not allowed into the labour ward and stood outside. I heard my wife scream loudly and thought it was because she was delivering our baby girl. At around 11:30pm, I was called into a room where a female doctor told me that my wife and the baby had passed on. I was shocked and questioned the doctor about the circumstances surrounding her death. I was told by one of the nurses that she had water in her lungs,” added the distraught widower.

The couple, who had been dating for two and a half years, were excitedly awaiting the arrival of their daughter. “On Saturday, we held a baby shower for my wife and were overjoyed to be parents. We attended a marriage seminar on Sunday and wanted our daughter to grow up with a strong foundation with two parents who loved each other unconditionally. My wife was very spiritual and our lives were based on strong Christian beliefs. I don’t know how I am going to get over the loss of my soul mate and my daughter, who I bonded with while she was still in the womb,” he added.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Sam Mkhwanazi, said, “Without prejudice, the Department of Health would like to state that the passing away of any individual(s) is a painful experience. To this end, the department would like to express condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. Regarding the medical condition and management of a patient while under the care of a public health facility, it is not government policy to discuss such information with a third party, including media, except a court of law. However, the department can confirm that management of the hospital has met with the family and there shall be continuous engagement between the two parties.”

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Yoshini Perumal

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