Hospital CEO’s visit questioned

2013-07-12 00:00

THE Department of Transport’s legal representative has thrown into question the decision by the Northdale Hospital CEO to visit the Harry Gwala Stadium.

This came during the cross-examination of the hospital’s CEO, Francis du Preez, by senior counsel Ravi Padayachee yesterday.

Padayachee was questioning Du Preez based on her testimony that she had gone to the stadium to try to convince the organisers to stop or postpone a recruitment exercise because her casualty department was chaotic and there were emergency vehicles queuing up outside on December 28 last year.

This emerged after the hospital’s admission records were tabled at the RTI recruitment commission of inquiry investigating the death of eight people participating in a four-kilometre run on December 27 and 28.

The records showed that on December 27, 16 patients were admitted to the hospital after the fitness exercise, and the following day the hospital received seven patients.

Padayachee argued that her call to go to the stadium was made on the assumption that the chaos at the hospital had resulted from the recruitment drive at the stadium.

However, Du Preez insisted that it was important for her to go to the stadium because on December 27 they had received 16 patients from the event and she did not know how many would be coming in the following day. “I could not wait and do nothing. I had to go to the stadium to see for myself so that I could plan properly. I had to convince the organisers to stop the event because of the situation at our casualty,” said Du Preez.

She said Northdale was fed by 22 clinics in their jurisdiction and, regardless of how many extra patients were expected, their casualty section was always busy, with about 130 patients treated there daily. She said the recruitment exercise had worsened the situation.

On Wednesday, Du Preez had also indicated that she trusted the accuracy of the hospital records, but it may have happened that when the nurses were recording them, they only noted the names of those patients who had “Harry Gwala or fitness exercise next to their names”, which may therefore mean that some were left out of the tally of patients from the training exercise .

Padayachee said her evidence should not be accepted because she had overreacted in assuming that the chaos at casualty was caused by the recruitment drive.

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