Health MEC must act against negligent Livingstone Hospital staff

An urgent investigation and action must be taken by Health MEC Dr Phuza Dyantyi following an incident last night (subs: 23 Jan 2018), when staff in the Oncology Ward at the Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth failed to assist a vulnerable patient who suffered a bloody fall from his hospital bed. The MEC must answer for ongoing incidents of negligence by staff at the hospital.

The family of JC Botha, an oxygen-dependent cancer patient, were visiting him when he fell from his bed. It is alleged that instead of assisting him, the ward staff confiscated the phone used to capture pictures of the incident.

This latest incident, the reaction of the ward staff and their clear failure to assist a most vulnerable patient constitutes a breach of medical ethics and contravenes the founding preamble and values of our constitution.

Last year, Zakes Mbeki fell to his death from the fifth floor of the hospital and the leg-wound of another patient, Clint Morris, became infested with maggots despite his alleged pleas to nurses for days to change his dressings. In both cases, internal investigations had found that nobody could be held responsible.

I am most grateful for Livingstone Hospital CEO Thulane Madonsela’s reaction when I spoke to him last night and he confirmed that an investigation would be instituted and that “…if any wrongdoing is found, there will be consequences.”

However, I have submitted questions for oral reply to the MEC of Health, which she will have to answer in the House at the next sitting of the provincial legislature. She needs to be held accountable for what is happening in our provincial hospitals. The non-findings in the previous cases were highly dubious. It cannot be possible that such incidents of overt neglect are brushed under the carpet.

The DA is committed to a caring province where every single citizen has the right to decent healthcare and dignity. I will continue to fight for the rights of patients so we have a caring health system that works for everyone in this province. — Celeste Barker MPL, Shadow MEC for Health