Charlotte Maxeke

Thousands of medical records flooded after burst pipe at Joburg hospital

Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital has been through a lot over the last year. From collapses in ceilings to burst pipes.

Charlotte Maxeke

The Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital made headlines exactly a year ago after the roof of the reception area collapsed. Multiple people were left trapped in rubble and an outcry ensued over the structural safety of the hospital as a whole.

The collapse left workers and patients terrified as many publically expressed their fear over coming to work. Of course, the opposition parties had a field day…

More breaking, less damage

Fast forward to 2018 and a video has been doing the rounds on social media showing thousands of paper medical records being flooded. A pipe had burst in the medical records room, directly above shelves holding the paper documents.

As the video spread on social media, South Africans were left confused as it appeared that no one was attempting to move the records.

TheSouthAfrican reached out to the hospital and Gauteng Health Department to seek clarity on the leak. With many hospitals in the country not having fully digitised records, there was also a concern regarding affected patients.

Acting Chief Director of Communications & Stakeholder Management at the Gauteng Department of Health, Leseman Matuka, confirmed that the department was aware of the situation.

The incident happened as a “burst steam pipe” began leaking water on Wednesday 28 February.

According to Matuka the leak was “swiftly attended to” and stopped within 30 minutes. The water spillage was also cleaned.

As to why the video doesn’t show anyone rushing to “save” the records? Matuka stressed that they were already set to be destroyed.

“The medical records that were in the area are files that are already scanned into our electronic system and they are in the process of disposal as per Archives prescripts.”

So while this hospital does indeed need a major revamp, it seems that luck was on their side this year. One would hate to think of the potential consequences if those destroyed records were not part of the digital system.