Baby burns to death in Joburg hospital

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

A new-born baby was burnt to death in May this year after undergoing phototherapy at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.

This appalling incident has been confirmed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mahlangu “it was discovered that the baby sustained burns and demised due to Phototherapy.”

Phototherapy is a common treatment that uses light to treat jaundice in babies.

This baby died because of shocking negligence. No defects were found in the phototherapy lamp or the incubator that was used, so it was human error that led to the baby sustaining burns that led to its death.

The department has taken the following steps concerning this incident:

  • Parents and staff were counselled.
  • Protocols to be revised.
  • Biliblankets to be procured for proper heat regulation in phototherapy.
  • Communication between doctors and nurses in the wards and staff from ICU improved.
  • Disciplinary procedure instituted on staff involved, suspended and taken to the South African Nursing Council.

It is really tragic that something like this can occur at this major hospital. I hope that the measures taken prevent  any further negligence that kills vulnerable babies.