/ 30 June 2009

Health dept denies negligence after patient’s death

The Gauteng Health and Social Development Department on Monday disputed allegations that its hospital turned away a critical patient who subsequently died.

Spokesperson Mandla Sidu earlier in the day confirmed that Mavis Ncube (25), who was hit by a car on Monday morning, was turned away by two state hospitals, and promised that the department would investigate.

He later in the afternoon issued a statement disputing the allegations.

He said the department’s investigation found that Ncube was not turned away at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academy Hospital, which was named as one of the institutions that refused to accept her.

Sidu said instead the hospital was temporarily shut down for electricity supply upgrade between 7am and noon, and it was not accepting any patients.

Ncube was hit by a car in Sandton and suffered severe injuries.

Morningside Medi-Clinic, where Ncube was eventually rushed to but died shortly after admission, issued a statement that she died because of extensive injuries.

But the hospital also alleged that she was turned away at a number of other unnamed public hospitals, including Charlotte Maxeke prior to being brought there.

A second ambulance was apparently sent to the scene just before 7.50am, almost an hour-and-a-half after the accident occurred.

Paramedics then arranged for Ncube to be stabilised at Morningside Medi-Clinic, which is a private hospital.

However, Sidu criticised paramedics and alleged that they did not follow proper procedures in attending to Ncube.

”In terms of procedure paramedics attending to a critical patient are required to take the patient to the nearest hospital for stabilisation, whether private or public,” he said.

He said since the accident occurred on the corner of Grayston and Katherine drives in Sandton, the nearest hospital was Morningside Medi-Clinic.

”This necessitated that the patient be taken there so that she could be stabilised and transferred to a public hospital for further treatment,” Sidu said.

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

Johannesburg metro police spokesperson, Wayne Minnaar, confirmed that the nearest hospital to the accident scene was Morningside Medi-Clinic. — Sapa