Maggots in mouth: MEC orders probe into 'unacceptable' ordeal at RK Khan Hospital

2019-07-08 17:29
A Durban man cleans maggots out of his father's mouth after hospital staff refused to help. (Supplied)

A Durban man cleans maggots out of his father's mouth after hospital staff refused to help. (Supplied)

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The discovery of maggots in the mouth of a patient at Durban's infamous RK Khan Hospital has been condemned by KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu who said an investigation into the matter has been launched.

"We can't accept it. We can't accept that in a public hospital someone will come and be in that situation and even die. Can you imagine the discomfort that poor old man was going through?" Simelane-Zulu told journalists on Monday.

She was speaking at King Edward Hospital, where senior staff presented her with a progress report on flood damage repairs at the academic hospital.

Simelane-Zulu said while RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth was understaffed, there was no excuse for the condition 52-year-old Abdul Ebrahim had been in.

"That is not acceptable. No amount of explaining, no amount of trying to make us understand how we got to be there or how we are understaffed and so forth can be acceptable."

Ebrahim made headlines last week after a viral video showing maggots on his upper lip spread on social media. He has since died after being admitted to hospital three weeks ago to treat a stroke.

His son, Azaad, spoke to News24 shortly after he buried his father, saying even after the maggots were discovered, hospital staff refused to clean the affected area.

Meeting with RK Khan, report expected

Earlier in the day, Simelane-Zulu said she had met with the hospital's management and chairperson of the hospital board.

"We also met with concerned residents in that area. We have instituted an investigation and the person responsible for the investigation has started doing the work. We hope to have a preliminary report by Tuesday on what actually happened."

She said while the department understood the pressures health workers faced, they had to remain professional.

"As professionals and health workers, they take an oath to take care of our patients when they get to us. The only thing we will ask our health workers to do is treat our patients with care. Health is a right. They have a right to be treated properly and a right to be taken care off."

Simelane-Zulu said she would address the staffing issue with Premier Sihle Zikalala.

"The premier and I are engaging on the matter. The challenge we are facing is that we don't have the money and that is a fact. The premier has asked for a proposal on how to turn the situation around and that is what we are working on currently."

Visvin Reddy, the chairperson of the newly formed RK Khan action committee, said he had spoken to Simelane-Zulu outside the hospital on Monday morning.

"The community has expressed shock and horror at what transpired. The people that come here are the most vulnerable in our society. They are poor people and very sickly. In most cases they are the elderly."

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