Foetus disappearance: MEC calls for disciplinary action

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pretoria - Gauteng Health MEC, Hope Papo, has expressed disappointment and shock after a dead foetus disappeared at the Far East Rand hospital.

He also called for immediate disciplinary action against staff members involved, a statement said on Sunday.  Police will also be called in to investigate how the foetus was handled and who is to blame for its disappearance.

The foetus apparently disappeared last week after a patient was admitted to the hospital after giving birth to a stillborn seven month old foetus at the South African Social Service Agency (SASSA) offices in Springs on Friday March 8.

The patient was taken to the hospital by paramedics who handed over a dead foetus to a health worker at casualty. The health worker allegedly placed the foetus in the sluice-room with the intention that it will be taken to the mortuary.

Later that evening, the night staff went to the sluice room and discovered that the foetus was missing. They however failed to report the matter to management.

Management only became aware of the situation three days later when the patient and her husband came to the hospital mortuary with the undertaker to collect the foetus, but could not find it.

The MEC said the incident reflected non-compliance to protocols and procedures which were supposed to have been followed when handling the dead foetus on the day.

“This is unacceptable. Everyone involved will have to account for what happened that day and disciplinary action must also be immediately taken” he said.

A list of all staff members involved in this incident has already been collated and statements taken from them. A disciplinary hearing is expected as soon as the statements have been reviewed and evaluated. –