A woman allegedly abandoned her newly born baby at Mnene Mission Hospital when she discovered that it had multiple deformities.
The woman only identified as Margaret (34), reportedly bolted out of the labour ward and fled from the hospital after she learnt of the baby's deformities. The incident occurred on Tuesday morning.
The sex of the baby could also not be ascertained, according to hospital authorities. The official said soon after discovering the multiple deformities on the baby, the mother got off the labour bed and bolted out of the hospital.
"There was drama as some nurses and other hospital staff chased after the baby's mother as they tried to stop her from leaving the hospital but to no avail," said the official.
The official said the hospital authorities were now taking care of the baby, which is alive but had not been fed since birth on Tuesday.
"The hospital authorities tried to engage the baby's mother and later the relatives but they have all rejected the baby because of its condition. The baby is now being taken care of as a terminal patient by the hospital. If the mother continues to deny the baby, the matter would then be reported to the police. The baby was said to be still alive but had not been fed owing to the cleft pallet (mouth) defect since Tuesday," said the official.
Midlands provincial medical director Dr Milton Chemhuru confirmed the incident. Dr Chemhuru also confirmed that the baby's mother and other relatives had rejected the baby owing to its deformed features.
"I can confirm that there was a baby born with multiple deformities at Mnene Hospital. The mother has, however, rejected the baby maybe because she could have been shocked by its state. The hospital is now treating the newly born baby as a terminal patient. The baby is still alive and the hospital is taking care of it," he said.
Dr Chemhuru said some of the deformities on the baby included micro cephalic (small head), imperforated anus, cleft pallet (mouth), and an exposed brain.
"In medicine, it's unethical to just let the baby die without doing anything to try and save life despite all these multiple defects. In developed countries, the deformities could have been diagnosed while the baby was in the womb and the pregnancy could have been terminated through abortion," said Dr Chemhuru.
He said now that the baby was born, the health officials will do all within their powers to save life. Dr Chemhuru said the condition of the baby could be as a result of some drug reactions on the part of the mother.