NATIONAL NEWS - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) in KwaZulu-Natal has expressed its anger following the death of a patient from hypoxia in a makeshift parking lot facility at the Northdale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.
The patient was taken to the hospital on Friday, 31 July, after he complained of shortness of breath. He was taken to a makeshift facility that is located in the parking lot of the hospital.
In a statement, the union said: “We find it abhorrent that the hospital would subject patients to such inhumane conditions. The use of such a structure especially in the middle of winter must be investigated with immediate effect and those who are responsible for the erection of the structure must face harsh punitive measures.”
The union called “for the immediate dismantling” of the facility, adding that it “is a serious cause for concern” that the head of the department of health in the province, Dr Sandile Tshabalala, “was not aware of the existence of such a structure”.
“At the helm of our provincial health department, we need people who will concern themselves about the wellbeing of patients in healthcare facilities and the better management of all healthcare facilities across the province.
“We will be engaging the MEC of health on this matter to ensure that it does not die down and the family of the deceased finds closure for their departed father.
“We send our sincerest condolences to the Khumalo family and wish the family strength while dealing with this dark hour,” the statement reads.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has also conveyed his condolences to the Khumalo family.
In a statement, Zikalala said the provincial department of health has launched an investigation into the circumstances around the death of Sibusiso Edward Khumalo, 67, while in the care of the hospital.
“The investigation follows complaints by Khumalo’s daughter that her father had been placed on a makeshift structure at the hospital upon admission on Friday after he had complained of difficulty in breathing.
“She took to social media to vent her anger about her father’s death after he had complained about feeling cold in the makeshift structure at the hospital.
“The department has since been in contact with the complainant.
Premier Zikalala has asked the provincial department of health to compile a report on the circumstances that led to Khumalo’s death.
“We want this matter to be investigated thoroughly and if negligence is found on the part of the hospital those responsible must be held accountable,” said Zikalala.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)