- Warning: this article contains graphic details some readers may find disturbing.
- The two-year-old girl had been placed in isolation as she was suspected to have Covid-19, but later tested negative.
- The hospital CEO said when the family reported the rape to the hospital, they ended up at casualty, which did not relay the message to his office.
The chief executive officer of the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa has said he only learnt about the alleged rape of a 2-year-old girl in an isolation room after receiving a media inquiry about it.
Dr Richard Lebethe was speaking on Breakfast with Bongani Bingwa on Radio 702 on Wednesday following reports on Monday and Tuesday about the incident.
iOL reported on Monday the child's aunt said the victim's mother had been told by the hospital that she needed to be isolated as they suspected she may be infected with Covid-19.
The mother then went home, but she was contacted in the evening and told the child was crying, seemingly in pain.
The child was suspected of not being "herself" and refused to play, according to the aunt.
"Even when I persisted, she would come to me, but you could see she was struggling to walk. She would cry. I saw that there was something wrong with the child," the girl's aunt told the publication.
"As the mother was changing the nappy, she discovered some white fluid on her private parts. She initially thought it was medication as the child came from the hospital. Even the following day, that same whitish fluid was still coming out."
It has also been reported that the family returned to the hospital after being referred by a local clinic where they took the child following the realisation that she had been raped.
But when they got to the hospital, they were allegedly sent from pillar to post.
According to Lebethe, when they got to the hospital they ended up at casualty, which then did not inform management and his office. He said the isolation ward, where the child had been, was not aware of the incident.
"I think there has been [a] break of communication. In fact what happened [is], when they found out, they went to a clinic, which referred them to the hospital and they landed in casualty and unfortunately the message was never passed over to me or any other management," Lebethe said.
The CEO explained that as the hospital is dealing with Covid-19, major parts of the hospital are undergoing construction, which meant the number of wards had been reduced and those available were being shared.
He said management had decided that only babies who were breastfeeding could stay at the hospital with their mothers, which is why the child's mother left her at the isolation ward.
"The ward in which this child was, is quite a relatively active ward. In that cubicle, that child was not alone. She was with another child who is a premature and the mother of that child. She was not alone."
Lebethe could not delve into the finer details, stating they were the subject of investigations by both the police and the hospital.
News24 reported on Tuesday that Gauteng police were investigating the circumstances surrounding the rape.
Gauteng Department of Health spokesperson Kwara Kekana also said the hospital was conducting its own investigation and a preliminary report had been submitted to the head of department.
- Compiled by Sesona Ngqakamba