'Huge problems' at Chris Hani Baragwanath

2012-02-08 13:49

Johannesburg - There are huge problems at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto, the national health department said on Wednesday.

"There are huge problems at Chris Hani. There are huge problems at the maternity unit," spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said.

He could not "categorise" these issues, but said the national and provincial health departments were talking with the hospital to resolve staff shortages.

"That's why nurses from [the SA National Defence Force] were deployed a few weeks ago to help out at the hospital."

Leaked letter

He was responding to a report by Health E-news Service in The Star on Wednesday which cited a letter leaked to the newspaper from the hospital's head of obstetrics to his counterpart at the University of the Witwatersrand.

In the letter, Dr Eckhart Buchmann describes how staff shortages and overcrowding led to two avoidable infant deaths in the first two weeks of January alone.

Doctors reported brain damage in babies who were born asphyxiated and had not received treatment in time. Unhygienic conditions in the maternity wards, including maggots in the blood-soaked bedding, were also reported.

In early November the problem was exacerbated by the non-payment of the Khalipha Agency, which supplied additional nurses to the hospital. The agency was paid in late December.

The hospital's chief executive Johanna More reportedly said she was unaware of these cases and denied they were linked to staff shortages.

"Where were [the doctors] when these babies were dying? Where are these consultants? Spending time in conferences."

Influx of patients

Hadebe said one of the problems facing the hospital was that surrounding clinics were not functioning properly "and so people flock to Chris Hani".

The hospital was battling to keep up with the influx of patients.

Both the national and provincial health departments were taking up the non-payment of nursing agencies to ensure it did not happen again.

"The minister has also emphasised the training of nurses, particularly bedside training."

Both Hadebe and Gauteng health department spokesperson Simon Zwane said there was a national shortage of midwives.

Zwane said a number of midwives had been recruited despite the scarcity. They would begin work at the hospital in March.

Negligence claims

DA spokesperson Jack Bloom said the conditions at the hospital would lead to "an avalanche of medical negligence claims" which would drain the health budget.

The provincial health department recently paid the first of three instalments to Prince Sibusiso Khanyi's parents. Khanyi was brain damaged through staff negligence at his birth in December 1999. The South Gauteng High Court ruled they be paid R9.25m in damages.

Zwane said: "There are plans in place that will ensure that doesn't happen."

  • Dave - 2012-02-08 14:05

    Why are problems allowed to become"HUGE". Why are problems not addressed when they are small? Have the wrong Cadres been deployed?

      Gerhard - 2012-02-08 14:27

      There isn't huge problems at Chris Hani Baragwanath, there is only one HUGE PROBLEM. It is run by Government and the party in control starts with an A and ends with a C.

      Anthony - 2012-02-08 14:50

      toooooooooo true gerhard

      Willie - 2012-02-08 15:02

      Yes ---and this are people who want to nationalise mines

      Johnny - 2012-02-08 15:23

      "Zwane said: "There are plans in place that will ensure that doesn't happen." Yeah right !!! They always claim that there are plans in place but a couple of weeks down the line you hear of how the situation deteriorated and nothing was done at all.

  • Dennis - 2012-02-08 14:10

    No surprises here neither - the anc is too corrupt to listen to anybody !! What seemed like a great idea in 1990 has turned into an absolute nightmare for the "liberators" !!

      Alex - 2012-02-08 17:05

      Margie, you really think that there would have been a revolution? Let's consider a few things why this statement is entirely ridiculous. Firstly the public would have not have been informed of such a situation, control of the media and all.... Secondly, and this is a general comment to everyone who speaks of Bara as the gem of Africa pre 1994, it is situated in Soweto, a location created by the nats for black people, and well, we all know how the Nats felt about black people... And yes Bara is worse than before and the government is screwing up monumentally. However this has nothing to do with their skin colour and more to do with their greed, corruption and disregard for the general south African population. Anyone who believes that the Nat government was not equally corrupt would probably drink the cool aid at a Jim jones party.

  • michael.e.bowery - 2012-02-08 14:29

    Until 1994, this hospital was the pride of South Africa and the best in Southern Africa with its medical staff and facilities. Now eighteen years later of ANC rule, it's a complete disgrace as a top medical facility. Need one say more?

  • Irene - 2012-02-08 14:36

    I wonder how much longer it's going to be before the ANC wake up and realise they cannot run this country? Surely by now they must have realised that they're incapable morons!

      Johnny - 2012-02-08 15:45

      That is exactly what is worrying me... do they really have so little brain cells not to realise that they are incompetent and all seems fine to them. Do they enjoy the state of decay all around ?? Sometimes I really wonder if it is about lining pockets or just being incapable/stupid !!

  • Phumzile - 2012-02-08 14:39

    I have also lost my brother with no reason at Bara heart bleeingof what he was treated by the nurses. he was treated very bad, left negleted dirty dont clean him. He was always telling us what is happening here, he said he was screaming the whole night when he need help , they just look at him they dont care. my brother was short on hijack drama he died in December 2011.He ask us to take him out of this hospital to Johannesburg hospital. I should have to do that, i think he will still alive that pain its still in my heart. If you can go to Goverment hospital its where Satan seats horable place dont wish to go ther rather died at home. My brother was treated very bad we used to cried when we were there about my brothers condition,they make us to clean him ofcourse we never mind coz is our brother . I know this is their duty to do that. They always seats there busy with their phones, OH God I can say a lot of what I saw. My suspicious they kille my brother coz he wasnt able to take him self to the bathroom. we always find him wet-wet -wet and also number 2 all over the place. we used to bath him when we get there. You know what tearing. Other Nurse said to me, we are very happy that your brother will be transfead to Bloemfontein. I said he is not going anywhere, we dont have family in Bloemand then next week my brother died. ?????? that was a big QUESTION TO ME TILL TODAY and he was covering very well I dont know what happened. BLEEDING FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HE.

      Thelma - 2012-02-08 14:48

      Really feel for you and your family but this is the ANC affirmative actions doings. How can you put doctors and nurses in positions that are not qualified to do the job and 90% of them have bought their certificates...

      michael.e.bowery - 2012-02-08 15:03

      Phumzile, I am so sad for you and for your brother's experiences at the hospital and his death. When the time comes for you to vote again for a political party to rule this country, think carefully about what you have written here, and follow your knowledge of how this happened. Vote for change and something better and which we all deserve from our government. Warm Regards, Michael

      Jo - 2012-02-08 15:07

      I am so sad to read your story. This should never happen. Be strong and God bless.

      Mary - 2012-02-08 15:14

      My sincere condolences, Phumzile. It's terrible when a place of healing becomes a place of death.

      Cecile - 2012-02-08 23:12

      So very very sad to read your story Phumzile. What a horrible way to die - to first go through a hijacking, and then to be treated like this ... how awful.

  • Irene - 2012-02-08 14:41

    And as if this isn't enough, they still want to poke their fat little fingers into PRIVATE health care!!!!

      march54 - 2012-02-08 14:55

      As a specialist nurse with nearly 40 years experience I would to add the following. Nurses in private healthcare are paid less than in public, no housing subsidy, poor health benefits.12 hour shifts in busy units are a killer especially if you are on your feet for most of the time. Try doing 3 of these back to back. Our families take 2nd place to our patients. Can not wait until I retire.

  • march54 - 2012-02-08 14:44

    Nursing crisis in South Africa will never be resolved. Not a profession that attracts the young. Nearly 50% of Registered Nurses on the Council Roll are aged over 50 years. In 15 years they will have retired with too few nurses to replace them. Poor work conditions, salaries, lack of advancement opportunities are some of the reasons why this is not an attractive choice to the average school leaver. The much anticipated National Health Insurance will be stillborn due to the shortage of experienced Registered Nurses. Please note the crisis is not limited to public health but also in the private health industry.

      Anthony - 2012-02-08 14:58

      and we have unemployment of 25%--how can we be short of nurses--anyone who is unemployed would jump at the chance of being a nurse--if there was a training scheme incompetent idiots

  • Juan - 2012-02-08 14:47

    Chris Hana Baragwanath again. ANC incompetent fool run cess pool

  • Theo - 2012-02-08 14:50

    ya and they always have the answers how to fix it all. Pathetic and sad. Only when the people in charge of these institutions and Government admit to themselves that they stupid and not capable of managing it and resign, only then will we as south africans see improvement. There is no worse person than a stupid person who him/her self believe they clever and capable. Very sad

  • Koos - 2012-02-08 15:16

    jaa.... everything eish she is broeken...... alles hy is weg!... we cannot run the hospital cause we are stuipaad!!!! ANC... your time has come!!! step down!!!!

  • HendrikAfrika - 2012-02-08 15:54

    Shortages in enough suitable trained Nurses, Teachers and Police - is there no way that the ANC can see this obvious shortcoming in their ruling of the country over the past 18 years. It is getting worse every year. When will black people wake up and understand the government will only improve their performance if you scare them by not voting for them. (instead of striking and worsening the situation)

  • Markus - 2012-02-08 16:22

    stop voting for the people who allow this to happen. just one of countless examples. there is bound to be a turning point in future. who knows when though?

  • Cecile - 2012-02-08 16:23

    As Trevor Noah calls it: MA-NAYGE-MENT. A hospital is only as good as its management. A bank is only as good as the branch you're at. ROTTEN MA-NAYGE-MENT, rotten service.

  • Vince.York - 2012-08-14 23:19


  • sandy.langenstrass - 2012-09-11 12:46

    No words to describe my disgust...but to say.... WHAT AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE.....WHY...WHY...WHY

  • Rita Phillipson - 2013-12-28 06:39

    Apartheid was a terrible system BUT I'll best these people would like to have the medical service that existed back in the bad-old-days. Bara was one of the best hospitals in Africa!

  • Mary Hinge - 2014-01-27 01:20

    SANDF 'nurses'... might as well just let the MRSA infection take it's course.

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