Questions over hospital deaths
Johannesburg – Several hospital deaths have been reported since a nation-wide public service strike started last week, but authorities are cautious to link them directly to the mass action.
The Star newspaper reported on Monday that three state hospital patients, who had been moved to private hospitals because of staff shortages caused by the strike, had died.
The patients who were moved to private care included 53 newborn babies evacuated from Natalspruit hospital, mothers experiencing complications during labour and shooting and accident victims.
The Gauteng health department said last week that two babies had died at Natalspruit hospital.
Gauteng health spokesperson Mandla Sidu said their deaths could not necessarily be linked to the strike, but added that the babies had not been properly fed.
"The babies were not fed for a long time," said Sidu.
Another baby was stillborn at a Mpumalanga state hospital last week.
The Star reported that the mother had not received proper healthcare services after suffering from complications during labour.
On Monday, The Sowetan newspaper quoted the mother, Busi Thwala, 28, as saying her baby died because of negligence.
"They were busy singing while my baby was dying," Thwala said.
In another report on Monday, a Talk Radio 702 caller said her brother had died at a state hospital in Johannesburg.
She said he had been recovering well after a stroke and was moved from the intensive care unit to a general ward.
She claimed that nurses ignored her last week when she pointed out that his condition seemed to be deteriorating, and he died later.
Beeld newspaper reported on Monday that a 68-year-old man was left to lie in his own urine for nine hours at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic hospital.
He was eventually moved to Sandton Medi-Clinic.
Public sector unions started striking on Wednesday in demand of an 8.6% salary increase and R1 000 monthly housing allowance after rejecting the government's offer of a seven percent increase and R700 housing allowance.