Stillborn baby goes missing

The loss of the mortal remains of a stillborn baby has resulted in more agony for a mourning family.

23 August 2021 | Health

Nico Maloboka; Family member; “…it seems that the corpse never reached the mortuary…”

Swakopmund • [email protected]

The bereaved family of baby Beauty Makena has opened a case against the health ministry after the alleged misplacement of her remains at the Swakopmund state hospital.

Beauty was stillborn at the hospital on 17 August 2021.

“Doctor Amir (Shakir) said that they are going to investigate. They think someone may have stolen Beauty’s body. He even suggested that one of the family members might have stolen the body. How can you say that? That really showed me that there is no remorse from their side,” said Nico Maloboka, a relative.

Dr. Amir Shakir says that these allegations were merely a misinterpretation.

“I mentioned all the possible explanations because this is an investigation. We don’t know what happened, so anything is possible. I said that the remains could have been wrongly claimed or that it could have ended up at incineration and listed the possible options. I had not meant to accuse anyone,” he said.

Left in the dark

According to the family, they noticed an anomaly when they went to collect the remains of baby Beauty for burial.

“On the 17th we arranged the funeral and we were supposed to proceed with the burial on the 18th. When we went to collect her body, they told us that she was not there,” another relative said.

According to the family members, hospital staff told them to return the following day once their shifts had come to an end.

“How must we return the next day when we were supposed to proceed with the burial,” Maloboka wanted to know.

The family eventually called on the governor of the Erongo region for assistance and were able to meet with the hospital management to obtain answers.

“They looked through their records and it seems that the corpse never reached the mortuary. However, they were able to determine who was the last nurse to handle our baby’s remains,” Maloboka said.

The family was subsequently granted access to the hospital mortuary to see for themselves if they could locate Beauty.

“After that they said they are going to launch an internal investigation and advised us that we are at liberty to open a case against the health ministry,” he said.

The director of health in the Erongo region, Anna Jonas, confirmed meeting the family but opted not to give any further comment.

Maloboka said that the opening of a case has brought little comfort.

“The police officer who assisted us said this is a very unusual case. We hope they won’t take long to resolve it.”