By Chantal Halata
Kimberley – Despite earlier expectations that the six-week-old baby who was raped last week by her uncle could be discharged from the Kimberley Hospital soon, it has emerged that the infant has suffered an apparent setback and was transferred to a hospital in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.
While the Northern Cape Department of Health was only prepared to confirm that the baby had been admitted to a Bloemfontein hospital, it is believed that some of the sutures to repair the tissue damage caused during the rape had torn. It is also believed that the infant was scheduled to undergo an operation on Wednesday night to attach a colostomy bag to her colon for the disposal of faecal matter.
The baby’s condition and whether she is back in the intensive-care unit could not be confirmed on Wednesday, with the department instead requesting the media to “allow the young patient to recover because this is a sensitive matter”.
“We should also understand that there are confidential details that are for the consumption of close family members and not for the public,” said department spokeswoman, Lulu Mxekezo, on Wednesday.
“The young patient has been transferred to a Bloemfontein hospital for further assessment and management.”
Mxekezo added she would receive specialised services while in Bloemfontein.
“She is recovering well and continues to receive the best health care treatment possible.”
She said the child’s mother was being accommodated at the health facility, which allowed for parents to be with their babies.
“At this stage we cannot speculate how long she will stay in hospital in Bloemfontein or in the Kimberley Hospital if she is transferred back here. She will be discharged when the doctors who are treating her are satisfied with her condition. At the right time more information will be provided about the progress of the young patient.”
In an exclusive interview on Friday with Dr Jan van Soest, a gynaecologist who was part of the seven-man team that operated on the baby, the specialist said the baby had sustained extensive trauma to the inside and outside of her genitals, as well as bruising and severe tearing, but there was no internal abdominal trauma.
Her perineum was also torn and needed to be sutured and built back up.
At that stage, it was expected that she would be able to lead a normal life and have children of her own one day. However, it was pointed out that the next few days after the initial surgery were paramount in checking for infection and complications.
Van Soest described the incident as the worst he had ever experienced in such a young child.