The Limpopo Health Department has slammed claims that a family was left untreated at the Louis Trichardt Memorial Hospital after being involved in an accident. The Times reports that it was reported that an elderly woman and her two grandchildren, who suffered extensive injuries, were told that all the doctors were on leave and nothing could be done for them. The woman and her family were apparently travelling home for the Christmas holidays when the accident happened.
However, department spokesperson Neil Shikhwambana denied the claims, the report said. “The family were involved in an accident. They did go to Louis Trichardt Hospital, but those things that were written is not the reality of what had happened,” he said. “Those people were seen by doctors and even referred.”
Shikhwambana said the woman was attended to by a general practitioner and later referred to an orthopaedic specialist at Polokwane Provincial Hospital.
He said Louis Trichardt patients were referred to other hospitals because there were no specialists at the hospital. “It is not possible to expect to be seen by specialists. Louis Trichardt is not even a regional hospital, it is a level one hospital,” he said.
Meanwhile, Shikhwambana said the hospital’s CEO, Dr Irene Malatji, had been suspended after workers went on strike calling for her to resign. They accused her of maladministration, corruption and nepotism, the report said.
Also in Limpopo, the Health Department has revealed that its staff was not to blame for the death of a baby born outside the gates of a local clinic last month. The Times reports that the incident happened at the Tshino Clinic in Vuwani. Provincial health MEC Phophi Ramathuba had instigated an investigation into the incident shortly after it happened.
“The woman gave birth to a macerated stillborn. Tests conducted indicate that the baby died in uterine few days before delivery. This is against the allegations and media reports which suggest that the baby died after delivery,” said department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana.
It was reported at the time that the woman had arrived at the clinic at around 3am. Asked whether the clinic operated on a 24-hour basis, Shikwambana said it worked on a call-out basis in the evenings. “If a patient arrives after normal operational hours, there are standby nurses who would be called by security to assist,” he said.
In the updated preliminary findings, Shikwambana clarified that the nurses and community had agreed to the ‘on call’ basis operation. “As per this agreement, there should have been nursing staff at the clinic to assist the patient in question,” he added.
And the Free State Health Department has denied claims that a patient died because no surgeon was available to perform an emergency operation at a hospital in the province. According to a report in The Times, a person took to Twitter saying they had just lost a family member because “there was no surgeon to do an emergency operation in the whole of the Free State in any (government) hospital”.
The report says provincial health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi acknowledged that a surgeon was not on duty at the hospital in question but said the patient had been attended to and “all clinical procedures were followed”. “We learnt of the allegations on Twitter and can confirm that they are not true. The patient and medical history was known by the hospital staff and all due processes were followed,” Mvambi said. “Yes, a surgeon was not at the hospital at that moment – but was on call at Bongani Hospital 30km away from Thusanong Hospital,” he said.
Mvambi said it was normal practice for a surgeon to be on call if one was not physically at the hospital. “It’s impossible to have surgeons at all hospitals, all day. That does not happen anywhere in the world. Sometimes a surgeon is called, depending on the situation. They can advise on what must be done,” he said.
“The patient was seen and attended to by staff members. All clinical procedures were followed. Unfortunately, we cannot reveal more information about the deceased patient unless the family has sat down with us and given consent,” he said.
The report says Mvambi urged the family to consult the hospital. “It is within the family’s right to seek answers if they are not happy or clear with procedures. Management is happy to do a case analysis of what happened,” he added.