Editorial | For this, heads must roll

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Family wants justice for Shonisani Lethole, who was allegedly starved to death by Tembisa Hospital staff.
Family wants justice for Shonisani Lethole, who was allegedly starved to death by Tembisa Hospital staff.

EDITORIAL


Shonisani Lethole’s cruel death at the Tembisa Provincial Tertiary Hospital where he had sought medical help should not be in vain. The culprits, all of whom signed a pledge “to the service of humanity” and to “endeavour to practise my profession with conscience and with dignity”, should be taught a lesson.

Lethole’s death was summed up by one doctor as “avoidable and preventable”. But die he did, under the supposed watch of 19 healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses.

The callous and uncaring attitude of these healthcare workers, that the local entrepreneur endured from the moment he was admitted at the hospital on June 23 until his demise six days later, was laid bare this week, to the horror of South Africans.

Read: Shonisani Lethole’s death: Health Ombud lambasts Tembisa hospital for negligence

Based on health ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba’s 204-page report, the 34-year-old was quite literally starved to death at the “hospital of horror”.

In his findings, Malegapuru revealed that Lethole was not offered any food for 100 hours and 54 minutes – that’s nearly five days.

He also found that the care given to Lethole, who was battling with severe Covid-19 symptoms, was not only substandard, but negligent.

But perhaps most damning was that had it not been for Lethole’s tweet to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on the second day of his torturous stay at the hospital, begging for help, the country would never have heard of the true scale of the negligence he endured.

During the ombudsman’s investigation, the doctors and nurses tried passing the buck on who was to blame for Lethole’s tragic death.

Medical negligence, particularly to this extent, is always shocking and heart-wrenching, but this is, unfortunately, neither new nor surprising.

Last year, the Gauteng health department reportedly paid out R15.6 billion in medical negligence claims. That’s right – R15.6 billion.

The Lethole report is only the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds, if not thousands, of other families have gone through similar trauma, with many not afforded the closure of a thorough investigation.

Read: ‘You can’t have a patient bleeding and there is no one to clean up’ – Staff shortage blamed for baby deaths

Lethole was failed on every level by the hospital in his time of need. Yet the hospital wants to challenge the report, which it claims is misleading.

Once again, this shows a reckless disregard of the trauma Lethole’s family has already endured.

For this, heads must roll.


facebook
twitter
linkedin
instagram

Delivering the 

news you need

+27 11 713 9001
news@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24

E-Editions

Read the digital editions of City Press here.
Read now
Voting Booth
The EFF has sent a legal letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office, demanding that the lockdown regulations be relaxed to allow political gatherings in compliance with all Covid-19 protocols. The party said that regulations prohibit political campaigning and activities in preparation for this year’s local government elections.
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Like church members, political party members should gather
18% - 6 votes
I fear the third wave
45% - 15 votes
Hold off on the elections
36% - 12 votes
Vote