Gauteng health department welcomes report into death of Shonisani Lethole at Tembisa hospital

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Shonisani Lethole.
Shonisani Lethole.
Shonisani Lethole, Facebook
  • Gauteng health department welcomed the Health Ombud report into the death of Shonisani Lethole.
  • Lethole died at a Tembisa hospital in June last year without knowing his Covid-19 test results.
  • The Health Ombud found that the hospital was not fit for purpose nor "ready for Covid-19". 

The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) has welcomed the Health Ombudsman's report into the death of Shonisani Lethole at Tembisa Provincial Tertiary Hospital (TPTH).

"The department will study the full report to better understand its findings. We remain committed to implementing the recommendations of the report within the prescripts of the law," Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi said in a brief statement on Wednesday.

"The department will also use the report to help improve the patient experience of care and provide quality dignified services in our facilities," Mokgethi added.

This comes after Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, released his findings on Wednesday into the circumstances surrounding the care and death of Lethole in June last year.

News24 earlier reported that the main findings were as follows:

  • Lethole was not offered meals at TPTH for 100 hours and 54 minutes;
  • Lethole died without knowing his Covid-19 test results;
  • Lethole's tweet on 25 June at 20:31 was just the "tip of an iceberg";
  • His tweet was authentic and truthful, and it uncovered severe systemic and governance deficiencies at TPTH; and
  • TPTH was not fit for purpose nor "ready for Covid-19".

READ | Shonisani Lethole's death: No food for 100 hours - Tembisa hospital 'like a zoo', says Health Ombud

Lethole died at the hospital after being admitted with breathing difficulties.

Shortly after being admitted, his father, Albert Lethole, said Shonisani informed them he had been deprived of food and was ill-treated at the hospital.

On Thursday, 25 June 2020, Shonisani tweeted Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, informing him of the treatment at the hospital and that he had not eaten for 48 hours.

The Health Ombudsman found that Lethole died on 29 June 2020 at 22:30.

Lethole, however, was certified dead on 30 June 2020 - 10 hours and 15 minutes after his lifeless body remained on his hospital bed, News24 reported.

Gauteng Health said it welcomed the work of the office of the Health Ombudsman on the promotion and protection of the health and safety of users in all health facilities.

"The Gauteng Department of Health once again extends a heartfelt apology and message of condolences to the Lethole family and the people of Gauteng," the department concluded.

Compiled by Canny Maphanga

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