Mark Steele, MPP
DA KZN Alternate Spokesperson Health
The Democratic Alliance will write to KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo with the request that the Ombudsman urgently investigate an alarming case of alleged medical and nursing malpractice at a provincial hospital.
The incident, recently reported to me, apparently saw a patient with a burst appendix initially misdiagnosed as having a ‘bowel obstruction’. The patient’s post-operative care was also allegedly so bad that his friends removed him from a provincial hospital and had him transferred to a private hospital where he is now recuperating from the after effects of major abdominal infection.
This case illustrates exactly the problems highlighted in my budget speech last week.
Without resources the health Ombudsman cannot investigate such cases independently from the hospital where they occurred. Furthermore, without the active involvement of the Health Professions Council of SA in assisting the department in holding professionals accountable, allegations of malpractice cannot be fully investigated. Nor can professional discipline be applied to nurses and doctors who fail to exercise proper care of their patients.
The DA will continue to call for the Health Portfolio Committee to engage with both the Ombusdman and the HPCSA to address the standards of medical care which patients in KwaZulu-Natal hospitals are experiencing.