Doctors did not need cellphone light - dept

2012-09-11 20:30

Johannesburg - Doctors would not have needed their cellphone lights during an operation at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital last week, the Gauteng health department said on Tuesday.

"According to the hospital, they have battery-operated lights which they use in cases where there is a disruption of the electricity supply," spokesperson Simon Zwane said.

The hospital had 20 generators, two of which experienced problems during the blackout, he said.

The SA Registrars' Association has insisted that doctors were forced to continue a caesarean section by the lights of their cellphone screens during a power outage on Friday.

Asked whether a report to this effect in The Star was misleading, Zwane said: "Yes. It is."


The newspaper's editor, Makhudu Sefara, said this was patently false, as the photograph accompanying the story and the doctors' testimony showed.

"We not only relied on the people who alerted us to the story, but we went out of our way to find corroboration, and in fact did find it," he said.

The story was accompanied by a picture of doctors carrying out an operation in the dark.

Zwane was trying to deflect attention from the serious problems affecting healthcare in the province, Sefara said.

In its report, The Star quoted the association's chairperson Dr Langanani Mbodi saying the electricity went out while doctors were about to deliver a baby.

Mbodi had received this information from doctors at the hospital.

"The mother was opened and doctors had to take the baby out," The Star quoted him as saying.

"They couldn't stop, because the mother would have bled to death and the baby would have died."

A battery-operated torch and a cellphone light were used to complete the operation.

Manually pump oxygen

Another patient on a ventilator was kept alive by a staff member who had to manually pump the oxygen sack for about 30 minutes, after a back-up battery gave in, Mbodi said. He applauded the doctors on duty.

On Monday, the Gauteng health department denied that the outages affected operations.

"The power outage happened at 02:00 and the power was restored about two hours later, and in that period there were no operations taking place," Zwane said.

Asked if the hospital had in the past used cellphone lighting during operations, Zwane said: "I don't know where they got the picture from."

"The power outages cannot be blamed on the hospital. They occur in the electricity supply network that affects the entire area where the hospital is situated."

Democratic Alliance spokesperson Jack Bloom said he was encouraged by the honesty of Gauteng Health MEC Hope Papo, who had earlier admitted hospitals were in crisis.

Bloom hoped more money would be made available for Gauteng hospitals.

"It has been estimated that the Gauteng health department needs about R4bn extra every year to provide a proper service," he said.

But the existing budget had not been spent effectively. Corruption and mismanagement had resulted in huge wastage.

  • wendy.schneider3 - 2012-09-11 20:44

    how long will you try to cover up your bs. admit you lost the plot and don't know, what your doing.

      tebalob - 2012-09-12 10:43

      Agree with you 100% JAJA.Wht's this B#$%^&S$$t of always covering up? It's this rubbish of "spokespeople"who dont know WTF they are talking about.and this leads to problems not being attended to because some fool said it's not f...nk true!!!!!!!! F*#k 'em all indeed. We are the ones faced with patients here!!!!!!!

  • ruanpretorius1980 - 2012-09-11 20:45

    Why don't I believe the department? Isn't it the same department that didn't pay it suppliers for months on end? Viva Gauteng Health! Viva ANC! Viva R12500! Viva free electricity! Viva free funerals! Viva!

  • lacrimosewolf - 2012-09-11 20:52

    Yep, same old same old. Zero accountability - still. When will all these officials realise that owning up to mistakes and shortfalls goes way, way further than trying to blame someone/thing else - or trying to pretend it never happened?

      tw2066 - 2012-09-11 21:11

      Could do a Zuma and blame aparheid....

  • logical007 - 2012-09-11 21:15

    But if we ask Zuma... we have achieved so much in 18 yrs since apartheid??? yes cell phones with lights? thanks to the first world!

  • patrick.saunders123 - 2012-09-11 21:15

    an anc cadre lying to cover up his incompetence? Say it ain't so...

  • lskosana3 - 2012-09-11 21:16

    Are you kidding me??? Now I've heard it all!! I'm SOOO glad I didn't have my angel in a government hospital, goodness *shocked*

  • freddie.mostert.3 - 2012-09-11 21:41

    Simon you were not there! Filemon still had to run up and down between carchargers and theater, Idiot!

  • Tim Elliott - 2012-09-11 22:05

    The story goes on and PRIDE,no ACCOUNTABILITY,BLAME something else like APARTHEID!How do decent,honest tax paying citizens of this country put a stop to this mindless and endless rush to the bottom?

  • josie.russell.10 - 2012-09-11 22:14

    What a bloody circus!

  • renier.lubbe.7 - 2012-09-11 22:19

    Theaters should have a back-up generator for the back-up generator. The generators should be tested weekly and the diesel levels and batteries should be checked daily (might be stolen). A competent electrician should be on site at all times!!! The testimonies of the doctors are proof - to deny the incident is futile.

  • kingKanete - 2012-09-12 02:45

    now i know why new doctors would sooner immigrate than work for public hospitals here in sa. In england they've got electricity. Not loadshedding

  • aristar.aristary - 2012-09-12 06:33

    And so the rot continues. Joburg was called a white elephant when it was built and with the lack of maintenance it will crumble into disuse. I had to go to the Jhb Hospital last week and was going to drive out the bottom gate, but there was a lake across the road, and a couple of abandoned cars in it. The drains had not been cleared for years. If that is an example of maintenance at the hospital then may God help them, the ANC government certainly won't.

  • jimi.harrison.7 - 2012-09-12 06:56

    Amazing that a simple garage can have a back up generator working during black outs, but a huge hospital doesn't........

  • william.sprague.12 - 2012-09-12 08:05

    In KZN they can't even supply clean linen to the hospitals. Where we used to be a third world country with one foot in the door of the first world, we now have both feet firmly in the mud of the third world and no light at the end of the tunnel(pun intended).

  • shelley.vorster.9 - 2012-09-12 08:06

    BULLSH%T!!! They just dont want to admit they f*&ck up!

  • LouisPVenter - 2012-09-12 09:20

    elights went off because of APARThate. We do-a the good eh service delivary. Ata leasta they hada the room to do the operation. We a really provida the very good service. Only the a light it didn't worka because of aparthate.

  • shane.kennedy.142687 - 2012-09-12 10:23

    Didn't have to use phones... power still out, hospital in an absolute mess. Another ANC triumph! Well done!

  • marli.eisern - 2012-09-12 12:56

    I believe everything they say, really and I am not joking or trying to be funny or sarcastic. I just believe them just like I believe in mother and father Xmas! And please don't criticize them or back talk. Antisocial behaviour?

  • johnnie.vercuil - 2012-09-12 19:33

    Get rid of this man trying to boost the hospital,knowing that he is lying. He should be ashamed of himself. What is he trying to gain by lying.

  • les.silverstone - 2012-09-17 11:46

    Once again bare faced lies from hospital administrators.Cadres have ZERO credibility and ability too!

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