Family demands answers after baby goes missing at Rahima Moosa Hospital

Thirty-five-year-old Hilda Mpofu, a domestic worker gave birth to premature triplets – two girls and a boy - at the facility last Thursday, but now finds herself with only two children, a baby boy and girl.

Rahima Moosa Mother & Child Hospital in Coronationville, Johannesburg. Picture: Google Earth

JOHANNESBURG - A Johannesburg family has pleaded with authorities to get to the bottom of a missing baby case following a series of mysterious events at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.

Thirty-five-year-old Hilda Mpofu, a Zimbabwean domestic worker gave birth to premature triplets – two girls and a boy - at the facility last Thursday, but now finds herself with only two children, a baby boy and girl.

This is not the first time that the hospital finds itself in such a dilemma, with some cases of baby swapping and mysterious deaths reported about it in the past.

In 2018, 385 “negligent” deaths were recorded at the hospital.

However, Mpofu’s case is proving to be one of a kind.

After giving birth, all three babies are said to have been kept at the hospital in line with the treatment of premature babies, with the boy having been admitted to ICU.

Mpofu was discharged from hospital on the Friday following the births and was shocked to discover upon her return to the hospital on Saturday that one of the girls was also in intensive care, with doctors expressing concern about their health while denying her access to the baby.

The infant was declared dead later that day.

Bongani Mpofu, Hilda’s sister, said that when she arrived at the hospital to view the remains, to her shock, she found that the deceased baby that was supposedly her niece was in fact a boy.

When she raised this with the attending doctor, she was assured that the hospital’s management and all involved parties would avail themselves to explain what happened.

Yet when she returned, there was not a single person in sight allocated to their case.

Instead, the file of the deceased baby boy which initially said the child was a girl had now been cancelled to reflect the right gender of the baby.

Which led the Mpofu family to the painful question: “Where is our baby girl?”

“They (hospital) sent me from pillar to post and that’s why I decided to contact the media. The kids are still there at the hospital because they were born prematurely. A boy and a girl. To us, we have a missing child. We know we have two girls and a boy. Now we have the body of the boy," Bongani explained.

Bongani said that she empathically told the hospital that she would not take the remains of the baby boy home for burial as it certainly could not be her sister’s child.

Rahima Moosa Hospital acting CEO Dr Frew Benson told EWN that an error occurred in the theatre where Hilda was delivering the last two babies, with a clinician recording that the last baby was a girl whereas they should have written male.

He further claimed that a paediatrician had met with the Mpofu family on Monday to explain the error and offered “free DNA testing” to allay their fears.

Bongani said that no such meeting occurred.

"In terms of the report, it is 100% certain that this baby is a male and in fact, at that point in time it was the only child of that weight, there are no females of that weight in the hospital. We are 100% certain that this baby is part of the family."

Bongani said that her sister was deeply traumatised.

“She can’t even speak. That is why I am the one that must deal with this, and I am the one who recognised all this foul play. She is at a breaking point. You know, dealing with the fact that you have triplets and then now it’s like we are having a missing child."

Benson said that they were not happy that “the mistake occurred” adding that the family was given counselling and discussions “were held with the specialist paediatrician. I don’t think there is any more that can be given".

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