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Wait for the medical report before making judgment calls: Motsoaledi on 'decapitated' baby

26 March 2019 - 18:58 By KATHARINE CHILD
Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi says a mother's life is paramount.
Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi says a mother's life is paramount.

Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi has urged the public to refrain from making judgment calls about the horror incident in which a mother gave birth to the head of her child, without its body.

eNCA reported that the 19-year-old woman, Kagiso Kgatla, who was six-months pregnant, gave birth last week at Tambo Memorial Hospital in Boksburg.

The foetus had a heartbeat before the delivery, eNCA reported.

Kgatla was told the child was abnormal by hospital doctors and her general practitioner, but told eNCA in an interview that she did not understand that the child was likely to die within hours of giving birth.

The mother said she witnessed her baby's head being delivered and claims she was made to wait a day before delivering the rest of the child's body.

She believes forceps were used during her difficult labour, saying the doctor asked for a "big spoon".

The exact circumstances surrounding the incident are unclear, with the hospital CEO, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (SASOG) and doctors at the hospital refusing to comment when approached by TimesLIVE.

On Tuesday, Motsoaledi said he had spoken to Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa, but was waiting for the medical report as parts of the story didn’t make sense.

"You, as journalists, are making a judgment call on something that is maybe not within your field. We need a medical report. We need to call experts.

"I am waiting for report. Me and you do not know the facts," he said.

It is also not clear why a C-section was not offered to the mother, with some saying this would have prevented her giving birth to a "decapitated" baby.

The health minister said doctors would have decided on what was safest for the mother.

He said: "The mother's life is always paramount. As far as I am concerned, in any situation in obstetrics, the mother comes first. Before you consider the welfare of the baby, you consider the mother and her future, and all that."

Speaking in Tembisa, at an event marking the launch of a world tuberculosis report, Motsoaledi said: "I heard that some members of the public and journalists say that they should have done a C-section. I can't make a call for it nor should it be made by members of the public or journalists. It’s a call that must be made by members of the profession. We have experts in the field."

He said doctors often had to make decisions that were not easy.

"There are lots of things done in medicine that members of the public may not appreciate, but doctors are faced with them. It's not that doctors like them," he said.