A Selebi-Phikwe mother’s belief in traditional medicine has left her with a deadbaby and the prospect of 5-years in prison on a charge of child neglect.
Ditsotlhe Same Dintwa,26, on Monday appeared before SelebiPhikwe Magistrate Ngebaniafter what seemed a desperate attempt to save her six-month-old baby’s life backfired. She allegedly pestered doctors into prematurely discharging her sick toddler from hospital so she could take her to a traditional doctor.
According to witnesses amongst them the dead infant’s father Emmanuel Pheko, the child died at home whilst waiting for the family traditional healer to arrive. She passed away five hours after medical doctors reluctantly consented to Ditsotlhe’s request.
Phekotold the court of the night in July last year when his baby daughter Boitshepo fell ill. “She was vomiting and having diahorrea.
The whole night we did not sleep. The next morning I told my girlfriend to take the baby to the hospital. Later in the day she sent me a text message saying the baby had been admitted,” he said.
The grieving dad went on to reveal that after three days of pestering from Ditsotlhe, the sickly baby was reluctantly releasedafter the young mother of two hadsigned a “discharge against medical advice”form.
Another witness nurseHloniphani, who took care of babyBoitshepoin hospital, told the court that Ditsotlhe had insisted that the people who could help her child’s condition were traditional doctors.
The male nurse testified: “Despite advice from the doctors that the baby was critically ill, the parents insisted she be discharged as they wanted to take their baby toMahalapye.”
For her part the dead infant’s paternal granny BaikepiPheko told the court that Ditsotlhe believed that elderly women in her home village of Mahalapye would take her baby to someone who would heal her,as her condition did not appear to be improving in hospital.
“At around 8 o’clock in the evening the child started to breathe with difficulty. Bythe time we got back to the hospital, the nurse told us the child’s heartbeat was faint.
When the doctor was called to further examine the baby, we were told the child had died,” said the 49-year-old- grandmother.
During cross-examination Ditsotlhe, who is heavily pregnant with her third child, denied that the doctor and the nurses had ever warned her of the consequencesof prematurely discharging her child from hospital.
“They did not tell me that if I signed the release form that this would be the result and I would end here, in court being charged for a criminal offence,” said the sobbing mother.
Trial continues next year January.