Actress and dancer Khabonina Qubeka is demanding over R40 million from the Life Bedford Gardens Hospital in Johannesburg after she alleges they disposed of her placenta against her wishes. When Khabonina gave birth to her first born child in October 2018, she left her hospital with one wish: to preserve her placenta so that she and her husband could take it home for cultural reasons.
The first-time-mom recently explained to Sowetan that she wanted to keep her placenta as memento of her first pregnancy, fearing she may never experience another one. She shared her sentiments when she said, “I felt the need to preserve my placenta because this was my first pregnancy and I have no idea if I will ever be pregnant again. So for me this was a chance to explore the full avenues of my pregnancy. A placenta is the child’s blanket and culturally it benefits the child and the entire family.
“I was told [by the hospital management] that we’ll freeze it for you and when you are ready you can come get it. To her horror, when she returned to the hospital a month after giving birth, she found out that they had reportedly gone against her wishes and disposed of it. This is despite a written agreement, seen by Sowetan, where the actress “refused the disposal by incineration [burning] or by other lawful means of human tissue”.
The Isidingo star is now allegedly demanding over R40 million as a settlement, and her case has been aided by the CRL Commission. The hospital, meanwhile, denies all liability.
A representative shared a statement in defence of Life Bedford Gardens Hospital, part of which read, “Having considered all the facts, we find no negligence on the part of the hospital. Ms Qubeka was required to complete and sign an affidavit for the safe disposal of human tissue by a patient, in order to collect the placenta after her discharge. Ms Qubeka did not complete the affidavit nor queried upon discharge the whereabouts of the placenta.
“As a result, the hospital is obligated to dispose of the placenta in an ethical manner as required in terms of legislation.” Do you think that Khabonina is demanding a fair sum from the hospital?