Newborn babies have to share ICU beds

2011-01-24 09:52

Johannesburg - Fifteen newborn babies had to share eight beds for several days in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Dr George Mukhari Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa, northwest of Pretoria, it has emerged.

This is in spite of a warning that came after the investigation into the deaths of six babies at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg in May last year, which showed that overcrowding heightens the risk of infection.

The mothers of these babies are currently engaged in a legal battle with the hospital.

DA provincial health spokesperson, Jack Bloom, said the babies were quickly moved to their own beds at Dr George Mukhari Hospital after he made enquiries on Saturday.

Shortage of equipment, staff

"The executive head of the hospital, Dr Trevor Fisher, confirmed that 15 babies had to share eight beds but said seven of the babies were moved to the high care unit. Only twins were still sharing a bed on Sunday," said Bloom.

Bloom said another big worry was that only three ventilators were available for the babies in the ICU, and there were only three trained nurses.

Fisher confirmed having solved the problems with the beds, but denied that they had a crisis with nursing staff.

"Sometimes it happens that there are many premature babies born at one time and then we don't have enough beds in the ICU.

"On Saturday we could move some of the babies to the high care unit so that each baby had its own bed," said Fisher.

He said they should get four extra beds in the ICU by the end of this week.

'No nursing crisis'

They will also receive additional equipment like ventilators and these should be set up this week.

"We aim to eventually have 20 beds in the unit. At the end of last year, 20 additional nurses were appointed."

Fisher said although hospitals will never have enough nurses, there is not a crisis at the hospital.

Bloom said the hospital helps with the births of about 12 000 babies per year and provides the only specialised care for large numbers of poor, rural people.

"It is unacceptable that overpopulating endangers the lives of newborn babies."

  • stephanjvv - 2011-01-24 10:12

    Not to worry, at least the money are well spent on nice official cars, renting luxury houses at enormous amounts while there are already official houses available and standing empty and then the Christmas parties and soccer world tickets.

  • Norbert Stallkamp - 2011-01-24 10:14

    15 babies on 8 beds... surely this means that 1 lucky baby got his/her own bed and hence 14 babies had to share 7 beds? nontheless... I'm glad that the hospital made a plan to accomodate these children!

      Melly30 - 2011-01-24 10:27

      I am glad too that the babies all had a bed, but still this should of been seen to as many things in this country, everything is left too late... They would rather see to themselves! Which is why this country is going down the tubes!!!

  • cat- eye - 2011-01-24 10:38

    and apparently gov depts have underspent "their" monies and they also want to rename prisons. What are they doing to the nation. Nobody knows!

  • bill - 2011-01-24 10:41

    This is becoming ridiculous!These people have a total inability to govern themselves.Perhaps we should look forward to Chinese colonialism.

  • Lesley - 2011-01-24 10:58

    While they're at it - start educating people about BIRTH CONTROL, then these things would not happen all the time. TOOOOOOO MANY BABIES ALREADY AND IT IS ALWAYS THE ONES WHO CANNOT AFFORD TO HAVE CHILDREN. There's no way this country can cope with the reckless breeding amongst certain groups.

      Pete - 2011-01-24 11:25

      100% agreed Lesley, well said. If there were fewer people in this country we would cope better.....

  • Phineas - 2011-01-24 11:22

    That is ANC Government for you. I saw it coming and they will never taste my vote in my lifetime. The officials are thieves, perverts, womenisers, rapists and everything that is contrary to progress. They sell employment, they sell services, they share tenders among themselves and soon they will be selling their very own wives to satisfy their greed & lust. You Boys & Girls, STOP making babies - it is so last year!! Go to school and you'll realize that you do not need ANC.

      Perfume - 2011-01-24 15:46


  • Kaz - 2011-01-24 11:31

    Reading this article makes me "believe" the survey released indicating Service Delivery failure is a myth. Yet another reason I've given up on practising medicine in South Africa and will stick to doing what I do with Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières....

      Perfume - 2011-01-24 15:46

      Hey there speaking of Doctors without borders, how does one make a donation to them, is there a website perhaps :)

  • seeya-zn - 2011-01-24 11:43

    Lets see rename hospitals or buy beds for ICU, maybe its best to rename the hospitals …..

  • Khalib - 2011-01-24 11:46

    It is not a problem to curb 'making babies'. What will then become of the grant for having children which offers a way of income to the poor? In any case in nature when a specie feels vulnerable it multplies as often as possible to ensure that at least some will survive

  • seeya-zn - 2011-01-24 11:48

    Spend tax payers money on renaming hospitals or buy beds for the ICU so babies wouldn't have to share beds, good work Government of always doing the rite thing.

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