Dr Imran Keeka, MPL
DA KZN Spokesperson on Health:
THE DA has been reliably informed by a senior professional source at Pietermaritzburg’s Grey’s Hospital that the hospital has not been able to perform vital bronchoscopy and gastroscopy procedures since December last year simply because the common light source which both work off, is broken.
A bronchoscope is a camera device used to look into the airways in the lungs which is used to diagnose certain conditions including certain lung cancers. It is also used to remove foreign bodies from the airways and for treatment purposes.
A gastroscope is very similar but is passed from the mouth along the gullet into the stomach to check for ulcers, cancers and other conditions. It is also used in the treatment of bleeding and other procedures.
The DA finds it difficult to comprehend how such a vital piece of equipment can remain broken for so long.
This is not the first time Grey’s has had to endure such a situation as a result of delays by the KZN Heath department. Last year a cystoscope was only replaced after almost 10 months.
Without these vital tools, there can be no doubt that there will be a delay in diagnosing serious conditions as well as treating certain critical conditions. If the diagnosis of certain cancers is delayed as a result of not being able to see them or taking a piece to test suspicious lesions, the spread and a disastrous eventual outcome of this disease is almost certain.
According to our source, some patients are being sent to Pietermaritzburg’s Edendale hospital while others are sent to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban. Due to the work load at these hospitals many are forced to wait for long periods or their examinations are cancelled altogether.
Grey’s hospital is a major provincial hospital which receives patients from all over KZN. The fact that these two vital pieces of equipment are not functioning is therefore causing widespread inconvenience and suffering.
The DA calls upon KZN MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, to ensure that the light source is replaced or fixed immediately. I will today write to the MEC, asking that he take the necessary steps to prevent any form of health catastrophe or medico-legal action that may be taken as a result of a delayed diagnosis.
Any death or disability that occurs as a result of this must lie squarely at the MEC and his department’s door.