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Sometimes babies don't wait for mom to go to hospital before they are born

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A baby was born outside Witkoppen Clinic around 6 o’clock in the morning on Monday 9th November.

Our medical Director, Dr Nandi Qangule explained as follows:

A mother arrived at the Witkoppen Clinic gate before 6am, already in labour as she was not able to reach her delivery/the nearest hospital, Hillbrow CHC, which is 20km from Witkoppen Clinic and 50km from Diepsloot where she lives. She stopped at the clinic gate to ask for assistance and was attended to by the security guard.

One of the patients waiting outside the clinic at that time said that a speeding van pulled into the parking lot at around 06:00 and a woman, clearly in labour, got out, screaming for help. But the other patients told her the clinic was not open yet and suggested she go to a hospital. “We asked the guys at the clinic to help her and take her inside, but I think it was too late by then. The baby was coming,” he said.

A Primary Health Care Nurse (PHCN) and Auxiliary Nurse assisted the patient to deliver at the gate. They collected the delivery pack and blankets from the emergency room in the clinic - they were unable to transport her because she was in the final stages of labour and couldn't be moved. They took all the precautions to ensure privacy as best as they could and to ensure that the mother and baby came to no harm. The EMS from the fire department arrived a bit later and also offered their assistance.

Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre does not have a 24 hour service or an obstetric delivery unit and patients are made aware of this at their antenatal visits, they are referred to a delivery facility which is recorded in their antenatal cards. Witkoppen is a primary healthcare clinic, not a CHC or hospital. Our clinic operating hours are from 07h30 until 16h00, so the clinic was not open yet and there were no clinicians on site when she arrived at the clinic before 06h00. Fortunately a PHCN as well as an Auxiliary Nurse arrived early for duty. They improvised by using blankets from our emergency room to ensure privacy during and after the delivery and transported her to the emergency as soon as possible. After the baby was born, mom and baby were taken to our emergency room and later transferred to Hillbrow CHC. Both Mother and baby were stable and fine before being transported to Hillbrow CHC.

Although Witkoppen Clinic is not 24-hour service facility and does not provide baby delivery services, sometimes babies come faster than expected and are born at the clinic. We do what we can to help, but always send the mom and baby to hospital as soon as it safe to do so.

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