Understaffed hospital wouldn't discharge baby

2013-01-08 12:08
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Johannesburg - A Limpopo mother has been left heartbroken after her 7-month-old baby died in George Masebe Hospital outside Mokopane - apparently because most doctors at the facility were on leave.

Connie Kobe told The Star her baby, Kagiso, suffered for more than a week from diarrhoea and vomited but there were no doctors available to treat him as they had all gone on leave for the festive season.

Kobe said she requested that her son be discharged from the hospital so that she could take him to her personal doctor but hospital management refused.

“I am battling to understand why they refused to discharge my baby, when they knew that they did not have doctors to help him. This is hurting,” Kobe told The Star.

Kobe said she now plans to take legal action against the hospital.

Kagiso was one of four babies that had died at the hospital.

Now provincial health MEC Norman Mabasa has ordered an investigation into the deaths.

"I want to know exactly how and when each child died. As we understand it, two died shortly after they arrived in the casualty unit, and the other two died after being admitted to the wards," he said, shortly after paying an impromptu visit to the hospital "to prevent them from preparing for the visit".

Mabasa asked a commission of enquiry to report to him within a week, and said he would take action if hospital personnel had been negligent.

Meanwhile, labour union Nehawu said in a statement that the hospital's staff should be held accountable for the infants' deaths.

The union claimed that the hospital was 75% full when the babies died, with only one doctor on duty, and that basic medical supplies and stocks had been depleted.

Nehawu also said that three of the hospital's nine doctors had resigned in December.

According to Mabasa, a hospital like George Masebe, with 288 beds, should have 38 doctors, but it has only 8.

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