Ladysmith hospital plagued by equipment shortage

2010-10-28 00:00

THE Ladysmith Provincial Hospital has a shortage of essential operational equipment.

A source from the hospital told The Witness that in the casualty department the electro-cardiogram (ECG) machines are broken and have not been repaired for some time.

The source said the hospital has only two of these machines, which are used to check the heartbeat on patients with heart conditions, in ward 1 and the intensive care unit (ICU).

The one in the ward is broken and the haemoglobin machines to test haemoglobin levels are dysfunctional, said the source.

It is also alleged that there has been a month-long shortage of sterile surgical gloves and that much of the equipment in casualty is broken.

“We are working under stressful conditions here as we have to make use of minimum resources due to lack of delivery by suppliers.

“It’s difficult to check haemoglobin on patients who bled profusely during their injuries and on women who bleed profusely during delivery,” said the source who asked to remain unnamed.

This is not the end of the hospital’s woes as oxygen points at the medical and surgical sides of the casualty department are not sufficient.

The source said on each side there are two points instead of four.

“Both the surgical and medical sides in casualty have four beds each and there should be an oxygen point for each bed.

“On top of this only three plugs out of the available 10 are functioning.

“Imagine running out of sterile surgical gloves with the possibility of cross infection, yet the management is doing nothing to address us on the state of the hospital,” said the source, adding that staff members are scared to speak out for fear of victimisation.

Hospital spokesperson Thabo Sithole said there are two ECG machines which are not working, and casualty is using one from the hospital’s equipment pool.

Sithole said haemoglobin machines are in working order.

“There has been a problem with gloves before because of the supplier, but that has been sorted out. Plugs and the other equipment in question is dealt with and when something breaks our equipment pool is available for replacement until the broken is fixed.”

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