Calls for reinstatement of state doctor who blew the whistle at Rahima Moosa hospital

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Dr Tim de Maayer, who has been suspended. Photo: Supplied
Dr Tim de Maayer, who has been suspended. Photo: Supplied


Wits University has called for the immediate reinstatement of Dr Tim de Maayer, a paediatric gastroenterologist who was suspended by the CEO of the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital yesterday.

De Maayer’s suspension came a month after he wrote an open letter to the Gauteng health department about the apparently appalling conditions at the hospital.

In the letter, De Maayer wrote:

Today, I counselled two mothers, informing them that our resuscitation measures had been in vain. I wish you could be there to see the pain and grief that these parents and their families go through. Children are dying and the horrendous conditions in our public hospitals are contributing to their deaths. I wish you could come to our unit and see doctors trying to intubate children and administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation by their mobile phone’s torch, as the power has failed … again … Or the cold neonate whose incubator went off with the loss of power (from load shedding) and did not keep him warm.

“How about excluding a mother-and-child hospital from your load shedding schedule? Our generators are, unfortunately, inadequately sized to supply the hospital.”

The university said it was appalled to learn of the suspension, and was calling for the unconditional and immediate reinstatement of De Maayer.

Professor Shabir Madhi, the dean of Wits University’s faculty of health science, said this was a ludicrous situation.

Instead of resolving the issues raised by the doctor at the coalface, the department has chosen to shoot the messenger. It is not like our healthcare professionals have not raised these issues multiple times through the correct channels, but nothing has happened. How much louder can our doctors and clinicians on the ground speak? These actions are against the spirit of the agreement between Wits and the department with regard to the management of our joint staff.

Madhi added that the university had been in contact with the Gauteng department of health since the suspension was announced.

He said they were optimistic that the suspension would be rescinded, and threatened that the department’s failure to lift the suspension would propel the university to plan for a public protest in support of De Maayer.

Meanwhile, Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi said that she had been made aware of the precautionary suspension. On Thursday, she said she would engage with the hospital management and other parties concerned.

“The Gauteng department of health once again acknowledges the issues previously raised by Dr De Maayer. The department concedes that there are challenges within the health system in the province and in the country in general, which require multifaceted interventions. The department remains committed to tackling these challenges while continuing to render services to millions of patients annually.”


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