KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane has ordered an urgent investigation at Durban's Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital following the emergence of video showing a patient in an unhygienic condition at home, after she was allegedly discharged with an open wounds.
The department said in the video, the patient's daughter can be heard narrating the patient’s ordeal, including allegations that her mother was assaulted and insulted by healthcare workers during her stay at the hospital.
After receiving the video on Wednesday night, the department said its internal systems immediately sprang into action, and in less than 30 minutes an ambulance was dispatched to fetch the woman from her home at Umlazi “CC” Section.
Reacting to the incident last night, MEC Simelane said: “I am severely disturbed by this video and have instructed the head of department to see to it that an urgent investigation is instituted."
She said the investigation must interrogate, among other things, whether the woman was clinically managed properly and whether she should have been discharged in her state.
“It must also establish whether she can identify the people who allegedly assaulted and insulted her. Obviously, our immediate goal at the moment is that she urgently receives the medical care that she requires, so that she can hopefully recover. So, we are glad that she’s been brought back into our care,” said Simelane.
She said they need to see whether there has been any wrongdoing on anyone’s part, so that the necessary sanctions and corrective action can be taken.
“We are very serious about consequence management. The days of mistreating patients and healthcare professionals making themselves guilty of dereliction of duty, thinking they will get away with it, are over.
“Our fellow compatriots come to our health facilities when they need medical care because they have nowhere else to go. We therefore cannot sit by and fold our hands while our people appear to be mistreated. It can’t be.
“So, this matter is being dealt with as a priority, and we are confident that the Department will leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom on this,” she said.
Simelane also urged patients or relatives who are aggrieved to exercise their right of recourse and not to leave healthcare facilities without lodging a complaint or, where necessary, seeking further medical assistance.
“Even those who have been discharged, if their medical condition takes a turn for the worst, we urge that they be brought back to hospital as a matter of urgency.”