Hospital theatre a 'time bomb'
Durban - Patients' lives are being endangered by the lack of working air conditioners in the operating theatre at KwaZulu-Natal's Manguzi hospital, hospital officials said on Tuesday.
"The situation is like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. The lives of patients are in danger. This needs to be sorted out very soon," said an official.
For the past four months, doctors had been forced to conduct surgical operations using small fans to cool the theatre during hot northern KwaZulu-Natal summer weather which sometimes reached 40 degrees Celsius.
The head of the KwaZulu-Natal department of health, Sibongile Zungu, admitted the theatre had been operating without air conditioners and said Eskom was to blame.
"The problem is with Eskom. For five years the hospital has been appealing to Eskom to give them the right amount of power supply," said Zungu.
Heat could make wounds septic
Concerned officials said the lack of air conditioners put the patients in danger because wounds could easily become septic when operating in the heat.
On several occasions, urgent operations had to be cancelled and doctors had been forced to conduct some procedures at night when it was cooler.
Hospital officials said they did not believe Eskom was to blame as air conditioners were functioning properly in non-essential sections of the hospital such as offices.
Zungu said the problem would be sorted out.
"The air conditioners in the hospital were all serviced in November, they are all working. We have records showing that we have been working with Eskom to sort out the problem," said Zungu.
Eskom said it would comment once it had received enough information on the problem.