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HomeNews UpdateGauteng Health MEC: 143 babies abandoned at Gauteng hospitals in 2020

Gauteng Health MEC: 143 babies abandoned at Gauteng hospitals in 2020

Last year, 143 babies were abandoned at Gauteng's public hospitals and currently there are 36 infants abandoned at different hospitals in the province, Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi said in response to questions from the DA’s Jack Bloom.

In 2020, Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus had the highest number of abandoned babies, with 51. Among the reasons for the abandonments were because the babies were disabled, were a result of an unwanted/unplanned pregnancy, or the child's mother was a teenager.

“Once a baby is dischargeable, they can remain in the ward for a further week up to a month until they are removed in terms of the Children's Act 38 of 2005 by a social worker,” Mokgethi said. Babies with special needs may stay longer due to challenges in finding suitable placements for them.

Meanwhile, News24 reports that outpatients awaiting elective surgery at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg are being subjected to long waiting times with no follow-up from the hospital, putting elderly and vulnerable patients at risk of emergency surgery by trainee surgeons – if they don't die while waiting.

News24 writes that while Gauteng Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi has denied this, long waiting lists nevertheless sometimes turn basic procedures into medical emergencies.

Jack Bloom, health spokesperson for the Democratic Alliance in Gauteng, said he was “horrified” that patients were given the option of immediate surgery by trainee surgeons. “What quality controls are there with these trainees?” he asked.

The MEC’s office declined to explain its policy regarding this issue, or what quality controls were in place.

The MEC's office provided some figures, but was unable to provide waiting times for each of the disciplines, except to say that “the waiting time for urgent essential is two to three weeks and it drags to six to eight months for discretionary elective”.

Spokesperson for the Office of the MEC Kwara Kekana said: “The waiting period has been severely affected by the intermittent restrictions … due to the COVID pandemic, the periodic inability to admit due to the acute shortage of surgical beds exacerbated by the closure of Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, and various infrastructure issues in the theatre complex.”

In the Ophthalmology ward, the waiting list for procedures is 800 long, with another 600 awaiting cataract surgery. In arthroplasty, 559 are awaiting knee procedures and 270 hip procedures.


News24 article – Elective surgeries become emergencies as Helen Joseph Hospital struggles to cope (Restricted access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Gauteng Health says it is tackling the cancellation of theatre procedures


Serious Adverse Events on the rise in Gauteng's worst hospitals


Backlog of 7,000 surgery patients at Chris Hani Baragwanath



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