Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa has promised to take action against staff at Kalafong Hospital in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, should it be found that the recent death of a patient at the hospital was due to their negligence.
Jeanette Shango, 65, was admitted to the hospital where she was misdiagnosed by doctors, some of whom were allegedly trained for only three years.
After being subjected to delays, she was sent for MRI scan, only to be told the machine was not working. She was sent home and given another date for the scan, but died at home over Easter.
Shango’s former employer, Lizette Jonker, wrote to the hospital complaining about Shango’s discharge when she was clearly still in pain and apparently not given proper treatment.
But in an e-mailed reply from hospital authorities – two days after Shango’s death – they claimed: “We visited Ms Shango yesterday with the medical manager, she says she does not have a problem presently, as doctors are managing her well.”
Ramokgopa said the action would include reporting the affected staff to the health bodies such as the Health Professions Council of South Africa and the South African Nursing Council.
The MEC could not link Shango’s death to the fact that Kalafong, as a tertiary hospital linked to the University of Pretoria Medical School, often had students who practised there.
“We have investigated this case with the relevant doctors. It may be that the patient did not understand,” she said, acknowledging that Shango was referred to more than one specialist clinic, including the gynaecology clinic and the radiology department for the MRI scan.
The MEC said at the time the scan was not functioning and the patient was given another date for her scan. “We are continuing with investigations, but we have also prioritised the repair of this MRI,” she said.
DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom demanded that Ramokgopa should apologise to the family.
“I am disappointed that the MEC did not express regret over this terrible case of mistreatment in a hospital that is notorious for poor healthcare. This one case is one of many that indicate that urgent measures are needed to improve the management at Kalafong Hospital,” Bloom said.