The lives of critically ill heart patients are at risk at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH) as four out of ten acute beds cannot be used as they are in the fire-damaged section.
According to Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature, there are at least two or three acute patients waiting for beds at any one time.
These patients may wait between 24 and 48 hours to get a bed. Mokgethi says that the effect of long waiting times is that:
“some patients may not be treated timeously in a cardiac Intensive Care Unit (ICU) setting but instead cared for in a general ward or at the referring facility. Some patients may deteriorate while waiting to be transferred to tertiary care.”
There are only four cardiology departments in public hospitals in Gauteng, and CMJH takes patients directly from casualty or from 14 referring hospitals.
The CMJH cardiac unit current has 36 nursing staff, but needs a minimum of 48 nursing staff.
New ICU beds are needed at CMJH as the current ones are at the end of their working lives, and they also need 6 new cardiac monitors and 2 new mobile suction units.
It is tragic that the delay in fixing the hospital has led to many severely ill heart patients not getting the best care to save their lives.
Doctors feel hopeless when they lose patients who could have been saved if there was proper staff and equipment.
The DA will continue to press for the urgent upgrade of facilities to provide quality care to all heart patients.