1954 deaths due to negligence in Gauteng hospitals

Gauteng public hospitals recorded 1954 deaths last year due to Severe Adverse Events (SAEs), which are defined as unintended harm to the patient by an act of commission or omission rather than by the underlying disease or condition of the patient.

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

According to Mokgethi, these deaths gave rise to only 28 disciplinary cases. How can there be so few disciplinary cases in this matter?

These SAEs have so far resulted in 13 litigation cases, and 31 referrals for mediation.

The worst hospital by far was Kalafong hospital which had an astounding 1015 SAEs last year.

This compares to the similar-size Helen Joseph and Tembisa hospitals which had 587 and 626 SAEs respectively, which are also unacceptably high.

The four large academic hospitals had the following number of SAEs:

• Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital – 854 SAEs
• George Mukhari Hospital – 453 SAEs
• Steve Biko Hospital – 330 SAEs
• Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital- 212 SAEs

Other hospitals with disturbingly high SAEs in relation to their patient numbers include the following:

• Leratong Hospital – 395 SAEs
• Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital – 367 SAEs
• Pholosong Hospital – 239 SAEs
• Sebokeng Hospital – 206 SAEs
• Mamelodi Hospital – 194 SAEs
• Edenvale Hospital – 157 SAEs
• Bertha Gxowa Hospital – 134 SAEs
• Jubilee Hospital – 122 SAEs
• Bheki Mlangeni Hospital – 118 SAEs

It is horrifying that there have been so many deaths and injuries to patients because of avoidable negligence.

This is why medical negligence claims continue to rocket, with courts awarding massive payouts.

Hospitals should be only about healing rather than places where patients are harmed.

The Gauteng Health Department needs to drastically improve hospital management, and ensure there are adequate and well-trained staff with proper equipment.