Hospitals need to tighten controls on foetus disposal

I am saddened by the reported incident at Pholosong Hospital where a stillborn baby was discarded while the mother was expecting to bury it.

Zandile Zolo was 8 months pregnant when she gave birth to a stillborn baby and her family was preparing for a burial when the hospital informed them that they had mistakenly thrown it away with medical waste which was later burnt.

The hospital has apologised to the family, but the trauma will remain with them forever.

The normal practice is that foetuses that are more than 24 weeks old are made available to the family for burial, but there have been cases where families have requested to bury a foetus born at less than 24 weeks.

Unfortunately, I know of other cases where families’ wishes in this regard have not been respected.

The Gauteng Health Department needs to clarify and tighten controls in hospitals to ensure that proper protocol and sensitivity to the family is followed with regard to burial of stillborn babies.