By Langa Bodlani MPL, DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Health:
Today I laid a criminal case of negligence for the death of a 1 year 8 months toddler who sadly passed away because hospital officials told the parents that there was not enough room for her at the Polokwane Provincial Hospital, in her time of medical need.
I was accompanied by the father of the toddler Mr Philip Ngwepe to charge the hospital officials at the SAPS.
All evidence points to a negligent manner of dealing with a critically ill toddler, without regard to her right to healthcare.
She had been initially admitted to Mankweng Hospital for about a month and weeks after she contracted acute pneumonia. When her condition seemed to be stabilising, she was then transferred to Polokwane Hospital.
At Polokwane Hospital, barely 3 weeks after her admission, the doctor in charge told her parents that there was not enough space and the child would have to be discharged.
The doctor told them that the child would be discharged to Helen Franz Hospital in Bochum, to wait for the oxygen cylinders to help her breathe which were to last 3 months each. When she was finally home, all 3 bottles were finished in less than 3 days.
Even the paramedics who attended to the scene confirmed that these bottles were defective as they all did not have sufficient oxygen.
This was the most negligent manner to deal with a toddler who needed help to breathe.
It is curious why a toddler in that condition would be discharged in the first place to be cared for by her mother who is not medically trained. Secondly why did oxygen bottles which were meant to last for 3 months each end up finishing in less than a day each?
Hospital officials must be investigated for the death of this toddler, which may amount to criminal negligence.
Like we did for the Letaba Hospital loadshedding death victims, the DA will also try to get legal assistance for this family for pain and suffering caused by this.
Our hospitals must heal our people not cause their deaths.