Couple sues government for N$4 million over stillbirth

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

A couple from Otjiwarongo is suing the government for N$4 million after their baby died during birth because hospital staff allegedly refused to treat the woman days earlier.

In documents filed at the Windhoek High Court last month, Yvonne Pollmann and her husband Rodney Pollmann cite Kalumbi Shangula, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Doctor Biti, and Doctor Felix Mutombo as the first, second, and third defendants.

According to the documents, Pollmann who on the 6th of March 2022, was nine months pregnant was in immense pain and asked her husband to take to her to hospital at around 18h00. She was immediately admitted to Otjiwarongo State Hospital’s maternity ward.

Pullmann is claiming that despite her complaining about excruciating pain, backache and requesting for an emergency caesarean procedure she was only operated on two days after being admitted.

Pollmann claims that the nurses informed her that she had a cold and that the pain she was feeling was due to normal contractions.

“Notwithstanding the aforementioned, nothing was done until 01h15 Tuesday 8 March 2022 when the caesarean section was performed and the birth was registered as a fresh stillbirth,” reads the documents.

Pollmann is claiming N$1 million each for emotional shock and trauma, inconvenience and discomfort, loss of amenities and future medical expenses in relation to physiological counselling to deal with her baby’s death.

The couple is also claiming the doctors and nurses failed to monitor the pregnancy status and health of the plaintiff during her admission to the ward.

“There was no continuous monitoring of the baby. The First Plaintiff was not stopped from eating and drinking. No sonar was performed on the First Plaintiff since her admission. No blood tests were performed upon First Plaintiff’s admission to check the blood count to have ready in case a caesarean section became necessary,” read the particulars of the claim.

The Pollmann couple is being represented by Caridad Harases and the minister by government attorneys.

The health minister has not yet submitted his counterclaim, but he has given notice that he will do so, and he must submit his defence on or before May 23, 2022.

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