Too late for sick girl

2014-06-05 00:00

THE health system’s failure to attend to a critically ill child at Taylor’s Halt clinic on Sunday may have led to her death after she suffered complications from chicken pox.

Described as a very bright pupil, Nosisa Mncwabe (9) from Kwa­Mnyandu was diagnosed with chicken pox on Wednesday last week at East Street clinic, but her condition did not improve.

Alarmed at her deteriorating condition, her parents took her to the 24-hour Taylor’s Halt clinic on Sunday morning, wanting a referral letter so she could be taken to Edendale Hospital.

A heartbroken and angry Bonny Godfrey, Nosisa’s mother Thenjiwe’s employer, has now reported Nosisa’s death to the Department of Health by writing a letter to the MEC.

Godfrey believes the system has robbed Nosisa of her life.

In her letter to the MEC, she said the clinic sister had noticed that the child started deteriorating, suffering from pneumonia and a high temperature.

“She phoned Edendale Hospital. The sister there said they cannot phone for an ambulance because the patient has to be sent to a receiving doctor at the hospital they are referring to, which caused a delay as they were not able to get a doctor on time,” said Godfrey. She added that the person on switchboard put the sister through to the ward but the phone just rang and rang.

“The sister only got though to the doctor just after 12 pm. He said he would receive her and she must send her immediately by ambulance. But they arrived late,” said Godfrey.

The clinic serves a population of 27 000 people in Vulindlela and they have no ambulances.

“How can patients get to hospitals in time if they have to wait to get through to a receiving doctor, then wait to get through to an ambulance, then wait for that ambulance to arrive?” said Godfrey.

She added that after hearing that on Sunday there had been difficulties at the clinic in getting through to the 10177 number, she herself called the number on Monday and it rang for “at least five minutes” unanswered.

She then used the number that was furnished to the clinic if 10177 was not working. “I then rang 033 392 1760. Why would 10177 not be answered? Is it not a hunting line? I asked the lady what the problem was with the 10177 number and she said, ‘Oh, there is a problem with the lines — everything is going through to HR and they are getting upset and not answering the phones,’” said Godfrey.

The father, Vusi, told The Witness that his daughter died in his arms while they waited in vain for the ambulance.

“The ambulance which the sister called at 10 am only arrived just before 3 pm after my child had died. I think if they had arrived on time maybe she would have been helped,” he said.

He said the clinic sister injected the child and gave her tablets while orally rehydrating her.

“I want to know why the ambulance got to the clinic so late as its not far from the hospital. Now I have to bury my child.”

He said they had tried their best to get healthcare for Nosisa, but, through no fault of their own, they could not.

Nosisa was a Grade 4 pupil at ­Mzimba Primary School. His father said she was a clever girl. “She loved education. She would help her older sisters in higher grades with their homework and reading.”


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