Doctor asks for break at inquiry

2013-08-05 22:15
Harry Gwala Stadium (Picture: The Witness)

Harry Gwala Stadium (Picture: The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A doctor testifying at an inquiry into the deaths of eight people following a job recruitment fitness test asked for a break on Monday as he was exhausted.

"I am finding it difficult to remain focused with complex questions, it would be good to come back tomorrow," Dr Douglas Wilson, the head of internal medicine at Edendale Hospital, said in Pietermaritzburg.

He was being cross-examined by Ravenda Padayachee, for the transport department, about the people treated at the hospital who participated in a fitness test.

It was part of a recruitment process for Road Traffic Inspectorate job applicants.

The commission is probing the deaths of the eight, who took part in a 4km run at the city's Harry Gwala Stadium in December.

More than 34 000 people qualified to apply.

A total of 15 600 applicants attended a fitness test on 27 December and a similar number on 28 December.

Wilson said on Monday he was exhausted and needed time to do research on heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

He spent his third day at the commission defending the hospital's treatment of one of the eight, Xolani Gumede. He died at the facility on 1 January.

He said Gumede was admitted to hospital at a time when there were staff constraints, and that they did the best they could.

Asked by Padayachee why he did not help monitor Gumede a day before he died, Wilson said he was working extremely hard.

"Two of my colleagues were on leave so I was covering different areas. I was also on call..."

Wilson said according to the duty doctor's notes Gumede was stable the day before he died.

On Tuesday he was expected to continue giving evidence on the people who were treated at the hospital and survived.

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