Adverse events rise in Gauteng’s worst hospitals

Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) in Gauteng public hospitals have risen from 4170 in 2019 to 4701 last year, an increase of 13%, with Tembisa Hospital by far the worst with 1226 SAEs during this period.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

A SAE is defined as an event that results in an unintended harm to the patient by an act of commission or omission rather than by the underlying disease or condition of the patient.

Hospitals with high numbers of SAEs for 2019 and 2020 include the following:

George Mukhari  – 1022

Chris Hani Baragwanath  – 883

Kalafong  – 850

Weskoppies  – 74

Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg  – 632

Thelle Mogoerane  – 380

Mamelodi  – 362

Sebokeng  – 324

Helen Joseph  – 319

Leratong  – 258

Jubilee  – 204

The Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital has the best record, with not a single SAE in 2019, and only 2 SAEs last year.

Steve Biko had the fewest SAEs of the four academic hospitals (the others are Bara, Charlotte Maxeke and George Mukhari), with 55 SAEs in 2019 and 200 SAEs last year.

Some hospitals saw sharp increases from 2019 to 2020. Edenvale hospital went up from 13 to 129, Leratong from 61 to 197, Helen Joseph from 102 to 217, and Sebokeng from 107 to 217.

The 747 SAEs at Weskoppies mental hospital are of concern as there is no surgery at this hospital.

Tembisa’s very number of adverse events highlights the poor judgement in choosing it as a Covid-19 treatment centre. This was a finding of the Medical Ombudsman when he investigated Shonisani Lethole’s death at this hospital.

Our health sector has been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, and effective measures need to be taken to ensure medical negligence is minimised as much as possible. Proper staffing and resources is critical, as well as good training, and disciplinary measures for non-performance.