DA writes to Human Rights Commission to investigate King Edward VIII Hospital tragedy

Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL

DA KZN Alternate Spokesperson on Health

The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal has written to the South African Human Rights’ Commission requesting an urgent investigation into the death of a man at King Edward VIII Hospital after he was allegedly denied emergency medical treatment.

On 8 June 2014, Mr Ronald Reece was made to wait 45 minutes before receiving medical care at King Edward VIII Hospital. He was a drowning victim who was successfully resuscitated before being transported to the hospital.  On arrival at the hospital he is believed to have been refused hospital oxygen and vitals monitoring despite being on a manual ventilator.

The delay in care was due to the proper referral process not being followed – despite his serious condition – by going first to Wentworth Hospital.  Mr Reece later died in hospital.

The DA is disgusted by the uncaring attitude of staff at this hospital.

We are also appalled by KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo’s approach to this tragedy. Despite the DA having written to him at an earlier date, calling for a probe into the matter, we are yet to hear from him.   The MEC has also failed to indicate any steps taken to prevent an unfortunate incident such as this from ever happening again.  This is despite 6 weeks having passed since the death occurring.

The MEC’s conduct is indicative of a grave lack of leadership.   Given his failure to respond, the DA has no other choice but to resort to the South African Human Rights’ Commission to investigate this alarming episode.

We firmly believe that Mr Reece’s right to life and right to emergency medical care were denied.