Imagine your child going in for an operation, and the hospital performed an incorrect arm and leg amputation?
That’s exactly what happened at the Yusuf Dadoo Hospital in Krugersdorp, and it’s clear from what came out during Tuesday’s address by Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramakgopa that it’s not an isolated incident.
Responding to a question from Democratic Alliance MP Jack Bloom, Ramakgopa admitted that the province’s health department has paid more than R1 billion in medical negligence claims during the past two-and-a-half years alone.
Some more horror stories via Business Day:
In another case a baby was left brain-damaged after being dropped on its head at Natalspruit Hospital.
In a case at George Mukhari hospital a baby’s arm was cut during a C-section but she was kept from her mother for three days despite the desperate mother’s pleas to see her child. The mom eventually found her baby screaming with hunger with an undressed wound three days later.
Only on the eighth day‚ were the baby’s wounds finally dressed properly. So as a result they took three months to heal…
In one other incident‚ a baby suffered oxygen deprivation leading to severe brain damage after apparently not being checked on for about an hour and a half.
That billion rand figure is staggering, but it’s only set to get worse. The department currently has another R13 billion in claims lodged against it, which accounts for a third of the entire budget.
Bloom said that over at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, the country’s largest, things have really spiralled out of control:
“Why is the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital number of payouts so much higher than the number of Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital payouts?” he asked.
“There is something drastically wrong at the maternity ward at that hospital.
“This needs to stop. What are you doing to stop this avalanche of cases?” he asked of the provincial health department.
“Hospitals should be where you go to get cured and not to get injured.”
Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital has about 13‚000 births a year and Baragwanath about 20‚000‚ but Rahima Moosa had five negligence payouts and Baragwanath had 35.
A recent story on TimesLive stated that staff in the province’s hospitals have been subjected to 107 attacks since January of last year, mostly by patients or their relatives, although staff themselves are sometimes involved.
Jack Bloom again:
“At the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital‚ an employee accused a colleague of being a witch and a nurse threatened a fellow employee with a knife‚” Bloom said.
“According to Ramokgopa‚ the identified reasons include frustrated or traumatized [sic] patients‚ alcohol abuse‚ bad attitudes and some psychotic mental health patients.
“Many attacks take place at night or over the weekend‚ particularly at the casualty department.
“Increased security can assist in bringing down the attacks‚ but the underlying cause is unfortunately the general violence and intolerance in our society.”
Something needs to change, and change rapidly, because horror stories such as these cannot be allowed to continue.
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