Action wanted after hospital deaths

2013-01-08 13:37

Johannesburg - The Inkatha Freedom Party called for action on Tuesday after four babies died of treatable diseases at George Masebe Hospital, in Limpopo, reportedly because of a staff shortage and others being on leave.

The fatalities showed that the health system was a failure, and that health workers were negligent, said IFP health spokesperson Hilda Msweli.

"When our caregivers no longer care, when children are left to die from treatable illnesses [then] tragedies such as this one will unfold," she said.

She called on provincial health MEC Norman Mabasa to bring to book those responsible for the deaths.

"[He must] take immediate corrective actions to ensure that tragedies like this do not occur again," said Msweli.

Beeld newspaper reported that Mabasa was investigating.

"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," Mabasa told the newspaper.

‘Strip negligent doctors of licences’

The SABC reported that there was not only a shortage of doctors, but that the hospital's entire management contingent had been on leave.

Msweli said negligent doctors should be stripped of their practising licences.

"The hospital management must [also] be held accountable and disciplinary proceedings instituted immediately and those found responsible fired immediately," she said.

Beeld reported that Mabasa had asked a commission of inquiry to report to him within a week, and had promised to take action if hospital personnel were found to have been negligent.

Meanwhile, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) said the hospital's staff should be held accountable for the infants' deaths.

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

It also said three of the hospital's nine doctors resigned in December.

According to Mabasa, a 288-bed hospital like George Masebe should have 38 doctors, but it had only eight.

  • ray.molekoa.5 - 2013-01-08 13:50

    I guess they had nice holidays knowing that their taking leave left patients with less staff to cope , thus putting their lives at risk . Incompetent managers everywhere !

      francois.smith.7 - 2013-01-08 21:50

      This should be simple. Someone died of a non natural cause. The police should properly investigate without fear or favour. Someone should be arrested for culpable homocide. If it turns out that it is Cassel Mathale - then without FEAR or FAVOUR he should be prosecuted. Regardless who - it may be Zuma or Motswaledi or Mathale or the nurse - does not matter, but someone should go to prison.

  • JNaMolefe - 2013-01-08 13:56

    That's worst! I have to leave for UK in few years time...

      appietrader - 2013-01-08 21:03

      what happened to .. Africa for the africans?

  • nestor.sakelliou - 2013-01-08 14:12

    Don't only blame the doctors the real people to blame is the ANC they need to put up medical wages and create more incentives to lock doctors and nurses in to either come work in sa or decide to stay and work here instead of abroad

  • Eterni80 - 2013-01-08 14:24

    this isn't the first time this has happened it won't be the last changing the attitudes of those involved is like trying to un-ring a bell this indifferent attitude in SA has to change from JZ down..

  • Michael Hawthorne - 2013-01-08 14:24

    There are only 8 or 38 doctors because Zuma used R200 000 000 selfishly.

  • Wish EaTwice - 2013-01-08 14:24

    Indeed, the provincial delegates must pay, they're not doing their jobs and innocent lives are involved. My president should take mass action against them.

      stirrer.stirrer - 2013-01-08 14:38

      What, use his mass and sit on them?

  • customdesign - 2013-01-08 14:25

    According to the word prosperity index, South Africa has one of the worst health care systems in the world- I think we ranked 138th last time I checked- that is shocking.

  • stefans.mkhawane - 2013-01-08 14:30

    This is common in Limpopo. The weekend which just passed I went to Jane Furse Hospital in Limpopo to visit my cousin who was there because her baby was admitted for a running tummy. The baby was admitted on Friday and by Sunday he has not yet been checked by the doctor. They were told that the doctor will only come on Monday. This then shows that this is a widespread problem in Limpopo and some parts of the country. I also know that at Leratong Hospital in Gauteng, if a patient is admitted on weekends, he/she will only see a doctor on Monday. This then shows that either the management or staff of these hospitals especially the doctors do not care about the wellbeing of the patients. They can improve the hospital buildings and bring more facitilities however if the attitude of staff towards patients has not changed, these efforts will be futile.

      Ntutu Dlova - 2013-01-08 14:41

      i'm not a doctor,but to say they don't care is very stupid. The other hospital has 8 drs, instead of 36.They are overworked ,under paid with no proper equipments. Get ur facts correctly before criticising. Blame ur ANC

      stefans.mkhawane - 2013-01-08 15:51

      I am not sure if any of your family members have used public hospitals, but mine have and know what they went through. My sister died in 2008 due to the fact that the nurses at Groblerdal Hospital in Limpopo could not operate the oxygen equipment which was hanging next to her bed. That is not because of being understaffed or bad working conditions. We always hear that they are underpaid or understaffed but when you go to the wards the nurses will be sitting in their stations chatting instead of attending to patients. There is a difference between being understaffed, underpaid and being negligent. A lot of people die in public hospitals because of staff negligence and a 'don't care attitude'. Those are facts!!!

      ange.kritzinger - 2013-01-08 17:00

      It is such a shame about your sister, Stefans. Sorry to hear that.

      Brian Dorning - 2013-01-08 22:25

      Thanks all to the ANC. but people still vote them into power.

  • Bongeka - 2013-01-08 14:30

    Immediate corrective majors are a little too late. Lives have been lost and that's irreversable. How could they be so negligent? I think this is bigger than we think it is, mark my words.

  • Fixzoza - 2013-01-08 14:39

    Incompetence by our Government..

  • AbrahamsTT - 2013-01-08 14:42

    The Hospital Management should be liabe for Doctor's taking leave. You cant employ 30 people and let 20 of them take leave during pick time.

  • nkele.malatji - 2013-01-08 14:48

    All hospitals at Limpopo are doing the same thing,"KILLING PATIENTS".If all these mothers can sue the goverment it will be a wake up call to Mr Mabasa-MEC for Health.Something must be done, enough is enough and I salute the doctor who exposed them in daily sun.

  • donovan.vorster.1 - 2013-01-08 17:39

    " the hospital's entire management contingent had been on leave." It says enough right there.

  • Brian Dorning - 2013-01-08 22:24

    The whole SA system is a joke, from unequal university entry requirements for people based on race. Give the best person for the task the job/position! If the aparheid government only did one thing right, it would have been that they had good government hospitals that you could have faith in, eat off the floor even! Our sisters/matrons are over weight and pathetic!

  • biltong.eldest - 2013-01-09 07:14

    Could the shortage of doctors also be due to the limit placed on the amount of white kids being allowed to study medicine? I know of a few that have left South Africa to study overseas as they were not accepted in SA although their matric results were excellent.

  • sonstrale - 2013-06-22 12:13

    It is clear that those incharge failed in their duty to make sure the departments are covered by enough staff.The health and and safety is clearly not a priority in that hospital.The management MUST be replaced as soon as possible before more people die.

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