Durban Hospital accused of contravening the Human Tissues Act

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Medical experts and health workers were outraged after learning that patients’ stillborn babies were allegedly left at the foot of their beds at Wentworth Hospital recently, in contravention of the Human Tissues Act, says a Daily News report.

Theresa Anderson said she was left traumatised two weeks ago after an already unpleasant visit to the hospital’s labour ward. She was visiting her daughter, Carrie Wilson, who lost her baby after a road rage incident. During afternoon and evening visiting hours, Anderson noticed red buckets at the foot of the beds of two women who had given birth to stillborn babies.

“I asked them (nurses) what was in the buckets. They said to me ‘In those buckets are babies’,” Anderson said. She said her daughter was discharged quickly, which she believed was because she had questioned the nurses and taken photographs of the buckets.

Medical law consultant Dr Shafrudeen Amod is quoted in the report as saying that the alleged practice contravened health legislation and good ethical practice. “From a legal and ethical perspective, it is in contravention of the Human Tissue Act, and charges and complaints should be lodged with the relevant statutory bodies,” Amod said.

He said health-care practitioners had not shown compassion and should be held accountable. He said the mothers were at the added risk of severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA provincial secretary Mandla Shabangu said shop stewards were unaware of the incident.

KZN Health spokesperson Noluthando Nkosi said in the report that hospital management had no knowledge of the allegations until they were raised by the Daily News. However, she said the allegations were concerning and the department was “looking into” the incident.

Daily News report

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