Staff blamed for teen’s death

2011-03-19 00:00

A TEENAGER who was injured in a freak accident in Northdale on Wednesday evening died later that night after what his family feels was negligemce by staff at Grey’s Hospital. The hospital denies negligence.

Theo Govender (18) suffered severe head and chest injuries when the driver of the bakkie that was dropping him from work mistakenly drove off as he jumped from the back, causing him to fall heavily on the road.

Witnesses called an ambulance, which arrived after 45 minutes, according to his uncle Mark Naidoo.

Naidoo said: “My nephew was then taken to Northdale Hospital where we were told that his injuries were too severe and they did not have the appropriate equipment to treat him and he was transferred to Grey’s Hospital.”

On arrival at Grey’s Hospital, at about 8.50 pm, no one from the hospital staff asked about the injuries, said Naidoo.

He said when the paramedics took Govender inside, nurses in the casualty ward said there were no beds and they could not treat him.

Naidoo said he noticed that some of the beds were vacant in the ward and there were no patients. He said the staff made no attempt to stabilise Govender.

“[One of the nurses] told Nevelene Govender, his mother, that they will leave the child until Thursday afternoon because someone had informedThe Witness,” said Naidoo.

He said after much pleading from the EMRS control room they managed to convince the matron in charge to attend to Govender.

He lambasted the hospital for taking 50 minutes before attending to his nephew, which he feels cost Govender his life.

“He had severe internal bleeding and if he was attended to earlier they could have stopped it. After 1 am he was declared brain dead. We are still unaware of how he died, however, the treatment or the lack thereof is obviously a huge factor.”

Naidoo said Govender died at about 2.10 am. “He was only 18 years old and was at the mercies of the pathetic health department …”

He said all he needed was immediate medical attention, not a bed. “A patient who was brought in after him in a wheelchair was attended to immediately on her wheelchair, why could they not attend to this lad even if it was on the floor?” he asked.

Naidoo said Govender’s mother (a single parent) is devastated as he was her only child.

Asked for a response on the matter, the public relations officer at Grey’s Hospital, Zamo Mntungwa, said on the ambulance forms, EMRS received a call at 8 pm.

“The departure from the scene was at 20:23 [8.23 pm] to Northdale Hospital where the patient was directed to Grey’s Hospital because of the nature of the injury of patient,” he said.

Mntungwa said Govender arrived at Grey’s Hospital at 9.40 pm and was received at casualty at 9.50 pm and “all the necessary care was given to the patient”.

Asked to explain the long delay between Govender being seen at Northdale and his admission at Grey’s, Mntungwa said he could not do so without input from the staff, who were not available.

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