SAHRC probes girl’s death

Hos­pi­tal was neg­li­gent: mom

African Times - - News - ISAAC RAMOTHWALA

THE South African Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion (SAHRC) in Lim­popo has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the death of a one-year old girl who passed on whilst in the queue at Mala­mulele Hos­pi­tal out­side Giyani last Mon­day.

The com­mis­sion re­ceived a com­plaint from the mother of the child who has ac­cused the hos­pi­tal au­thor­i­ties of neg­li­gence.

SAHRC pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary, Vic­tor Mavhidula, said the mother of the child had com­plained that they were made to wait for long hours as there were no doc­tors on duty at the hos­pi­tal at the time.

The mother, whose name could not be re­vealed at this stage, was re­ported to have pleaded for ur­gent help upon ar­rival but was made to wait for hours.

“The com­plainant told the Com­mis­sion that she be­lieves had her child been given nec­es­sary at­ten­tion on their ar­rival, the child’s life would have been saved. In­stead, she was told to sit down. We as the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion be­lieve that it was a painful de­ci­sion they have taken right there,” Mavhidula said.

Mavhidula said that im­me­di­ately af­ter they re­ceived the com­plaint, they con­ducted their own in­spec­tion at the hos­pi­tal and they found many wrong things that needed at­ten­tion. “When we ar­rived there, we found that the sit­u­a­tion was very bad be­cause we found that the med­i­ca­tions at their phar­macy and the food that was in the kitchen had ex­pired. So, we want the hos­pi­tal to im­prove the con­di­tions of their ser­vices and make sure that ev­ery­one has ac­cess to health ser­vices,”he said.

He added that the Com­mis­sion will con­duct thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tions and get the views of the hos­pi­tal man­age­ment on the mat­ter and those that were re­spon­si­ble on that day: “We will gather all the rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion and we will give the hos­pi­tal and the De­part­ment of Health an opportunity to re­spond,” he said.

He said it was the Com­mis­sion’s duty to alert the De­part­ment when they find some­thing that re­quires the govern­ment’s in­ter­ven­tion in terms of im­prov­ing their ser­vices. “We can hold them ac­count­able in many ways. Where it is nec­es­sary we can even take them to Court but if they are able to co­op­er­ate there will be no need for us to take a hard stand,” he said.

Mavhidula high­lighted that since the na­tion was cel­e­brat­ing Hu­man Rights Month, it was ex­pected of ev­ery­one to en­joy their rights and at the same time re­spect the rights of oth­ers.

A spokesper­son for the MEC of Health in Lim­popo Thabiso Teffo said the au­thor­i­ties were aware of the on-go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the Com­mis­sion at Mala­mulele. He was re­luc­tant to dwell on the mer­its of the case as it was still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, par­tic­u­larly on al­le­ga­tion that there were no doc­tors to at­tend pa­tients on that day.

“We will await their in­ves­ti­ga­tions to be com­pleted and that is when we will re­spond to them. The De­part­ment is also con­duct­ing in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion on the al­le­ga­tions that there are ex­pired food and med­i­ca­tions, but I can as­sure you that we are closely in­ter­act­ing with the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion around the is­sue. But the De­part­ment can­not do any­thing that jeop­ar­dises the safety of our pa­tients. We can­not com­pro­mise the health stan­dards of our pa­tients. Our duty is to en­sure that ev­ery­one re­cov­ers from their ill­nesses and re­turn back home safe,”Teffo said.

Pic­ture: Le­bo­gang Mak­wela / Vis­ual Buz­zSA

The South African Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion (SAHRC) sec­re­tary in Lim­popo Vic­tor Mavhidula.

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