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Tembisa 10: Doctor who examined decuplets’ mother ‘not qualified’

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Oct 29, 2021

This Tembisa 10 story is just not going away! In another twist, it has now been learnt that Dr Mpho Pooe, a medical practitioner who examined the mother of the decuplets, was not qualified to do so.

Clinicians challenge Tembisa 10 story

Clinicians from Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Tembisa Hospital and the University of Pretoria released a joint statement in which they denied the explosive allegations made by Dr Pooe and the Independent Media Group against healthcare workers at its facilities.

“We state unequivocally that none of our medical personnel has been involved in the antenatal, intrapartum, or post-natal care of a woman with 8 or more babies in 2021. Furthermore, records of the College of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) confirm that Dr. Mpho Pooe has not qualified as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, as per CMSA requirements,” they said.

When she appeared alongside Independent Media Chairperson Dr Iqbal Surve, Dr Pooe maintained that based on the tests she conducted on Gosiame Sithole, they were able to determine that she indeed was pregnant with multiple babies.

“It was deduced that it was less than six months old, and when I assessed her (Sithole’s) limbs, the right lower limb was actually weaker than the left lower limb. That could be due to pressure of the raising of the big abdominal on the blood vessels, which is very common with multiple pregnancies,” said Dr Pooe during the presser.

Here’s a reminder of what got us here: In June, Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi broke the story of how the Tembisa 10 were born at an undisclosed Pretoria hospital. He had done an interview with Sithole and the father of the decuplets, Tebogo Tsotetsi. Not too long afterwards, Gauteng authorities said they were unable to verify the births, prompting questions as to whether they even exist. The provincial government had also said there are no records of Sithole giving birth at any private or public hospital – and Tsotetsi himself has admitted that he has never even seen the decuplets.

Independent Media claims that a detailed investigation revealed that two of the babies died, while the other eight were trafficked. According to the company, healthcare workers, including obstetricians and gynaecologists have been using state hospitals such as Steve Biko, Tembisa and Dr George Mukhari to further their aims.

The clinicians have stressed that the spontaneous occurrence of quadruplets and higher order multiples is extremely rare. They say the natural incidence of quadruplets is estimated to occur in 1 in 600 000 deliveries while quintuplets probably only occur once in 15 – 20 million deliveries.

“We remain committed to providing healthcare of the highest possible standard to all our patients, often under very difficult circumstances. We will always strive to do this in an ethical and professional manner,” they said.

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