THE Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape has accused the provincial department of health of risking the lives of infant patients at Frere Hospital.

This after DA MPL and shadow MEC for Health, John Cupido, visited the East London hospital on Youth Day and allegedly found an adult patient being treated at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Cupido wrote in a statement: “The Eastern Cape department of health is again risking the lives of vulnerable infant babies in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at East London’s Frere Hospital by making adult patients with potentially infectious and septic wounds stay and be treated in the same ward because of overcrowding in other wards.

“Babies treated in paediatric ICUs are usually the most vulnerable of all patients to potential incidences of infection, with premature babies the of them all.”

Health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo, however, yesterday denied claims made by Cupido.

Kupelo said only children from zero to 13 years of age were admitted to paediatric wards and never any adults. “We reject the accusation … we believe it is illinformed,” he said.

But Cupido insisted and said: “Look, I saw it with my own eyes. There was a doctor treating the patient there and the head nurse even pointed it out to me.”

He accused the provincial department and hospital of “forgetting child patients”.

Cupido said he would raise these issues and other concerns with the legislature’s health portfolio committee in hopes of getting recommendations that will better the quality of treatment patients receive in hospitals around the province. — vuyiswav@

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