Mpumalanga hospital of horror faces more than five lawsuits
In less than three months, two babies had their hands amputated due to Bernice Samuel Hospital’s ‘negligence’
Lawyers representing more than five people who have been reportedly crippled by staff members at Bernice Samuel Hospital in Delmas in Mpumalanga are in the process of suing the province’s health MEC Sasekani Manzini.
In an interview with Sunday World, Tony Mathe, the lawyer representing the former patients, confirmed he was working on several negligence cases involving the hospital.
A recent case opened against the department of health involves two-month-old baby Snempilo Mathebula whose arm was amputated two weeks ago after a rubber band was left on his hand for more than 24 hours.
His mother found that his hand had turned black and he was taken to Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, where the hand was amputated
In another case Mathe is working on, a two-weeks-old baby’s hand was also amputated after a drip was wrongfully placed on her tiny hand and damaged it. This incident happened in April.
“There are many lawsuits we are working on that involve this hospital. Besides the babies’ cases, there are more cases such as the one of a woman who is now in a wheelchair after she was reportedly injured at the same hospital, while another one is unable to urinate after she was reportedly crippled at the facility we are talking about,” said Mathe.
However, the lawyer did not divulge how much his clients were demanding from the health department.
In the first case in which a baby lost her hand in April, two doctors were suspended after community members staged a protest demanding that they be suspended.
When contacted for comment, one of the people suing the department, Deneo Mathebula, the mother of the baby who was recently amputated, was reluctant to talk to the media and referred questions to the family spokesperson Sibusiso Mathebula
“Me and the baby we are fine and at home trying to rest, please talk to my brother, he is the only person dealing with the media now,” she said.
When contacted, Sibusiso confirmed that they were in the process of opening a case against the hospital but could not divulge more details on the ground that they had not finalised the process. Mpumalanga department of health spokesperson Dumusani Malamule said the department was aware of several negligence cases that happened at the hospital. He also confirmed the lawsuit involving the two babies.
He said the department wanted to talk to the family of the baby that lost his hand three weeks ago, but the lawyer that handled the boy’s case had prevented them from doing so.
“The department wanted to engage the family, but they already approached a lawyer and he barred us from talking to the family. Please note that this situation now makes the matter to be sub-judice, hence no further detailed information can be provided,” he said.
“We appointed a team to investigate the case, as well as the root cause of these two almost similar cases.
“The team was led by the provincial quality assurance director and had also members of the district clinical specialists. A preliminary report will be presented to the office of the head of the department.
“The report also had some recommendations both to the hospital management and the department of health in the province.
Once these final stages have been completed, the report will then be made public,” said Malamule.
He said the department would implement the recommendations of the report if any challenges were identified during the investigation.
From 2018 until the current financial year, the department lost approximately R100-million due to negligence medical claims, while it faces a futher 900 lawsuits.