The mother: hospital was negligent.
THE South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in Limpopo has launched an investigation into the death of a one-year old girl who passed on whilst in the queue at Malamulele Hospital outside Giyani last Monday.
The commission received a complaint from the mother of the child who has accused the hospital authorities of negligence.
SAHRC provincial secretary, Victor Mavhidula, said the mother of the child had complained that they were made to wait for long hours as there were no doctors on duty at the hospital at the time.
The mother, whose name could not be revealed at this stage, was reported to have pleaded for urgent help upon arrival but was made to wait for hours.
“The complainant told the Commission that she believes had her child been given necessary attention on their arrival, the child’s life would have been saved. Instead, she was told to sit down. We as the Human Rights Commission believe that it was a painful decision they have taken right there,” Mavhidula said.
Mavhidula said that immediately after they received the complaint, they conducted their own inspection at the hospital and they found many wrong things that needed attention. “When we arrived there, we found that the situation was very bad because we found that the medications at their pharmacy and the food that was in the kitchen had expired. So, we want the hospital to improve the conditions of their services and make sure that everyone has access to health services,” he said.
He added that the Commission will conduct thorough investigations and get the views of the hospital management on the matter and those that were responsible on that day: “We will gather all the relevant information and we will give the hospital and the Department of Health an opportunity to respond,” he said.
He said it was the Commission’s duty to alert the Department when they find something that requires the government’s intervention in terms of improving their services. “We can hold them accountable in many ways. Where it is necessary we can even take them to Court but if they are able to cooperate there will be no need for us to take a hard stand,” he said.
Mavhidula highlighted that since the nation was celebrating Human Rights Month, it was expected of everyone to enjoy their rights and at the same time respect the rights of others.
A spokesperson for the MEC of Health in Limpopo Thabiso Teffo said the authorities were aware of the on-going investigations by the Commission at Malamulele. He was reluctant to dwell on the merits of the case as it was still under investigation, particularly on allegation that there were no doctors to attend patients on that day.
“We will await their investigations to be completed and that is when we will respond to them. The Department is also conducting internal investigation on the allegations that there are expired food and medications, but I can assure you that we are closely interacting with the Human Rights Commission around the issue. But the Department cannot do anything that jeopardises the safety of our patients. We cannot compromise the health standards of our patients. Our duty is to ensure that everyone recovers from their illnesses and return back home safe,” Teffo said.