Dept clarifies Charlotte Maxeke incident

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
By: 
Gabi Khumalo

Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Health and Social Development has disputed allegations that a patient in a critical condition was turned away from a state hospital because the hospital was full.

Instead, the department says it is "dismayed at the conduct of the paramedics" who attended to the patient at the scene of the accident as they did not follow the required procedure.

Mavis Ncube, 25, who was hit by a car on Monday morning at the corner of Grayston Drive and Katherine Avenue in Sandton, later died at the Morningside Medi-Clinic.

Speaking to BuaNews on Tuesday, department spokesperson, Mandla Sidu explained that the patient was not physically turned away from the hospital, but the hospital was temporarily shut down for electricity supply upgrade.

"The patient was not physically turned away like the media reports allege.

"The paramedics called the hospital (Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academy Hospital) and were told that the hospital was not accepting any patients between 7am and 12pm, because during this time the hospital was temporarily shut down for electricity supply upgrade," Mr Sidu said.

He said that in case of an emergency, like Ms Ncube's case, the patient was supposed to be taken to the nearest hospital, whether it's a private or public hospital for stabilisation.

The department, he said, was dismayed at the conduct of the paramedics who attended to the patient at the scene of the accident as they did not follow this required procedure.

He said the patient was supposed to be taken to the nearest hospital and in Ms Ncube's case, the nearest hospital was the Morningside Medi-Clinic.

"In terms of the procedure, paramedics attending to a critical patient are required to take the patient to the nearest hospital for stabilisation, whether private or public, from where the patient will be transported to the appropriate hospital for admission and management.

"According to our investigation, it would appear that the paramedics did not follow the required procedure," he said.

"Instead, the paramedics tried to find a place in public hospitals and later took the patient to Morningside Medi-Clinic for stabilization, where the patient should have been taken in the first place."

He said the department has since launched an investigation to establish what went wrong.

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