Experts probe Pretoria baby deaths

2011-06-24 16:11

Johannesburg - A team of experts will begin investigations on Friday into the deaths of five premature babies at Jubilee Hospital in Hammanskraal, Pretoria north, a spokesperson said.

The team would look at all aspects which led to the deaths, including issues of possible infection at the hospital, Gauteng health spokesperson Dr Sello Mokoena said.

The team comprises of the same experts who probed Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg where six babies died around the same time last year.

Those babies contracted the norovirus, and it was identified that overcrowding, staff shortages and lack of equipment, attributed to their deaths.

According to reports, the five babies at Jubilee Hospital were allegedly not put into incubators and could not keep warm.

A hospital source told the Star newspaper that four of the hospital's six incubators were broken, while the remaining two were faulty and do not regulate heat properly.

Two babies died on Monday, two more died on Tuesday and the fifth one died early on Wednesday morning.

"Babies die here almost on a daily basis, and I think it is because of the cold. Something has to be done here immediately to save our babies," said a mother.

Mokoena said according to the hospital's CEO Damaria Magaro, post mortem evidence on the babies indicated that their deaths were not because of mismanagement at the hospital.

"When I heard about the incident from various media, I immediately made a call to the hospital and asked what happened," Mokoena said.

He added that the parents of the newborns were being provided with "psycho-social" counselling by priests and social workers.

He could not say when a report on the investigations would be made.

DA Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom said the investigation should have "no cover ups".

"There must be no cover-up of the causes of the baby deaths, and the investigation report must be made public as soon as possible."

  • jock - 2011-06-24 16:37

    It is a shame that the ANC govt.has allowed our hospitals to deteriorate to this level and yet wants to give aid to other countries.

      willieman - 2011-06-24 16:45

      And they want to run mines

      gwiz - 2011-07-09 19:09

      I agree with you Jock, what a shame that the powers to be are not doing what should be done. Hospitals are generally a disgrace. People in charge should be made to suffer for their mismanagement.

  • willieman - 2011-06-24 16:44

    G.Mukhari Hosp should be investigated why are they washing their laundry in Johannesburg not at the hospital this is a waste of money

  • Krolie - 2011-06-24 18:13

    Shocking! Why hasn't a red flag come up after the first child's death, actually even before? Why hasn't the staff or someone spoken to someone in charge - if they have, then with the media - in regards to the incubators being faulty? Why does a child, and in this case five babies have to die FIRST before anything is said? No need to wait for the result of investigations, IMMEDIATELY supply this hospital with the incubators required and at the same time request ALL hospitals to provide reports on the status of their incubators and other equipment. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! DO SOMETHING NOW!! My sincere condolences to the parents and families for the loss of their children. Know that they are in His safe and loving hands. May the little ones rest in peace.

  • StirMonger - 2011-06-25 11:55

    Any heads going to role over the incubators - not a chance.

  • kameelman - 2011-06-25 15:23

    I used to work at Jubilee hospital some years ago. There is always a big problem with equipment like incubators not working and it can sometimes take months to have them repaired. The reasons for this are various, but apathy and a lack of a sense of urgency in these matters on the part of the people responsible for equipment maintenance are major factors. There is also a shortage of specialists at the hospital, as far as I know Jubilee hasn't had a trained Pediatrician on staff in years, the pediatrics department is staffed by general practitioners without any additional training in pediatrics or neonatology. Most likely there is no funding available to fill these specialist posts, even if you could find a specialist willing to work there. Jubilee has the potential to be a very good public hospital, it just needs enough money and proper management. But that is the problem with most state hospitals these days: They are poorly managed. As far as funding is concerned, I think they are generally well funded, the problem is that these funds are poorly managed.

  • Morongwa - 2011-08-09 07:38

    Willieman: let me clarify one point. George Mukhari is not responsible for doing its laundry, they have other institutions that are responsible for their laundry, like Masakhane. The main duties for Hospitals laundry is to make sure that they are well collected from & to wards, well packed and in the required number to the washing areas.

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