Hospital uses cardboard on patients with bone fractures amid shortages of plaster of Paris

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The DA's Gauteng Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom said it was unclear why the hospital was unable to procure plaster of Paris, which is a common product with alternative suppliers at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus. Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Mduduzi Ndzingi
The DA's Gauteng Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom said it was unclear why the hospital was unable to procure plaster of Paris, which is a common product with alternative suppliers at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus. Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Mduduzi Ndzingi

NEWS


The DA has raised concerns about the shortage of plaster of Paris at Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg.

According to DA’s Gauteng Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom, the hospital does not have the plaster of Paris to set broken limbs and bone fractures.

Bloom said it was surprising that the hospital has had a shortage of this basic medical commodity since April.

He added:

Plaster of Paris is used to protect and immobilise broken bones, but doctors at the orthopaedic department in this hospital are only able to use bandages, which provide no support. This causes extra pain and increases the risk of complications.

He said a simple ankle fracture can be treated with plaster of Paris that costs R100, but surgery that costs about R10 000 is often the only alternative when there is no plaster.

“The hospital’s orthopaedic department sees about 100 patients a day, most of whom would usually require plaster of Paris to assist their healing. Cardboard has sometimes been used to stabilise a broken limb,” he said 

Bloom added it was unclear why the hospital was unable to procure plaster of Paris, which is a common product with alternative suppliers.

This is just another example of incompetence, such as the shortage of bread at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital earlier this year. I have alerted the head of the Gauteng health department of this issue, but I am sure that donations of plaster of Paris would be most appreciated by the orthopaedic department.

This is not the first time the hospital finds itself in the spotlight. In April this year, disgruntled staff members shut down the health facility as they said government needed to step in to address the many challenges impacting the level of care provided at the facility.

READ: Healthcare workers shut down hospital as Gauteng health department pleads poverty

The workers called for urgent reform at the hospital.

A media enquiry was sent to the Gauteng health department about the shortage last week, but it failed to respond.

Meanwhile, Bloom has asked anyone prepared to speedily assist with a bulk supply of plaster of Paris to contact him on 082 333 4222.


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