Durban - The birth of her second child should have been a joy for mother-of-two Sherryl Pillay, but it ended in dismay when she learned she had been sterilised during the operation by her gynaecologist at Umhlanga Hospital without her consent.
This is what Pillay told a hearing of the Health Professions Council of SA, which is investigating the allegations against gynaecologist and obstetrician Rajesh Mahabir.
In addition to lodging a complaint with the council, Pillay is also claiming R360 000 in damages from Mahabir.
On Tuesday, Pillay told the hearing she was admitted to Umhlanga Hospital on November 5, 2008 for a Caesarean section.
She said that, soon after her son was delivered, she fell asleep. When she awoke, a nurse told her that she had undergone a tubal ligation (sterilisation).
“The doctor and I discussed tubal ligation twice during the antenatal consultations leading up to the birth,” Pillay told the board.
“The first time he asked my husband and I if we were planning on ‘closing factory’, and we said ‘no’. The second time he brought the topic up, I told him that, if anything, my husband would undergo a vasectomy, as it was a reversible procedure.”
Pillay said on Tuesday that she signed a consent form in the doctor’s office on or before October 31 that year, giving him permission to carry out a Caesarean section only.
She then handed this form to the doctor’s receptionist, but was not given a copy of it.
The form has since disappeared, and hospital records show that, at the time of being admitted to the hospital, there was no written consent for Pillay to undergo either a Caesarean section or a tubal ligation.
However, a note was made saying she had given verbal consent on the operating table.
“I went to see another gynaecologist after the incident took place and was told that, if I wanted to have more children, it would have to be through in vitro fertilisation,” she said.
“This is very expensive, and the medical aid will not cover it, so I believe the doctor should have to pay after he took away my ability to have children naturally.”
The hearing is set to continue on Wednesday, when the board is expected to hear more from Pillay and Mahabir.