KZN Health investigating 6 deaths at rural hospital

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The Kwa Zulu Natal Health Department has launched an urgent investigation following the deaths of six patients at St Andrew’s Hospital in Harding this week, after they were admitted in connection with COVID-19-related infections.

“Preliminary information in this instance shows that the hospital's contingency plan kicked in when challenges were experienced with the reticulated oxygen. This entailed the use of oxygen cylinders,” Health Department spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa is quoted in The Mercury as saying.

He said “an urgent internal investigation has been instituted into the matter. We would therefore like to discourage any speculation regarding this matter, pending the completion of this investigation.”

An inside source, who cannot be named as they are not allowed to speak to the media, is quoted in The Mercury as saying that earlier that the South Coast public hospital was caught off-guard in that it was under-prepared for a sudden admission of patients with infections related to COVID-19.

“Not enough oxygen was readily available to deal with COVID-19 patients. It is clear that they did not expect that there would be an increase in infections for a health facility located in a small town such as this one and surrounded by rural areas.”

Located in the Ugu health district, St Andrews Hospital is a district hospital with 268 beds.

Full report in The Mercury (subscription needed)

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