by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
The crisis at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital continues as the death of another psychiatric patient is covered up and the source of the antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella that has killed 6 babies has still not been found.
According to unions at the hospital, a psychiatric patient committed suicide at the psychiatric ward on Friday 14 September this year.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa held a press conference at the hospital on Sunday 16 September on the Klebsiella crisis, but did not disclose the death of this psychiatric patient.
This is the third death of a psychiatric patient in less than a year – a patient hanged himself in October 2017 and another patient died after jumping out a window in June this year.
There is one psychiatric ward at the hospital that can accommodate 10 males and 10 females, but this is grossly inadequate as 163 psychiatric patients had to be placed in ordinary wards from March 2017 to July this year, according to a written reply by Ramokgopa to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
There is no camera monitor in the psychiatric ward which could have prevented the latest suicide in which the patient hanged himself using hospital pajamas turned into a rope.
There are currently 43 psychiatric patients at the hospital with only four nurses on duty and no full-time psychiatrist.
Meanwhile, the neonatal ward where babies died is still open despite the announcement by Minister Motsoaledi that it would be closed and babies would be moved to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital until it was thoroughly cleaned up.
This is another blow to Motsoaledi’s shredded credibility as he always intervenes too late, as happened in the Esidimeni tragedy where 144 psychiatric patients died, and in the KZN cancer disaster where more than 500 cancer patients died.
I have always suspected that management at this hospital is thoroughly rotten as I have repeatedly been refused access to do oversight, and staff concerns about safety, understaffing and infection hazards have been brushed aside for a long time.
The Hospital CEO Dr Nomonde Mqhayi-Mbambo has been put on special leave with full pay, but she should have been fired long ago.
I have been told that she has boasted that she is untouchable because she is the niece of Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle.
If this is confirmed, it would explain why she has been protected for so long by MEC Ramokgopa who should share the blame for the deaths of the babies and psychiatric patients.
Premier David Makhura should fire Ramokgopa for her failure to prevent the Thelle Mogoerane hospital horror and for the fire at her head office where she ignored safety warnings and three firefighters died.
It is unconscionable that lives are lost because the ANC protects its comrades and cronies.