shonisani lethole hospital CEO appeals suspension

Shonisani Lethole.
Image sourced via Twitter

Shonisani Lethole: Did Gauteng man die from hospital negligence?

The death of 34-year-old Shonisani Lethole at Tembisa Hospital is considered yet another indictment on the public health system

shonisani lethole hospital CEO appeals suspension

Shonisani Lethole.
Image sourced via Twitter

There are now more questions as to how much blame should be attributed to Tembisa Hospital and by extension, the Gauteng Health Department, for the death of Shonisani Lethole, a 34-year-old man who had been admitted to the facility.

A report by the Health Ombudsman Professor Malekgapuru Makgoba was nothing short of scathing towards Tembisa Hospital and its staff, finding that the businessman’s death could have been prevented.

Before his passing, Lethole had reached out Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to complain about the conditions at the hospital and said he hadn’t eaten in days.

Makgoba found that there was no truth to the hospital’s claim that it had offered Lethole food and that there was credence to his complaint.

“Therefore, Mr. Shonisani Lethole’s tweet to the Minister had merit and was found credible and truthful. The evidence from TPTH that meals were provided to Mr. Lethole was found to be without foundation,” he said.

Shonisani Lethole hadn’t eaten for more than four days – Makgoba

In addition to finding that Leshole had not eaten for 100 hours and 54 minutes, Makgoba also concluded that he had been gravely ill and his condition deteriorated – but that doctors and nurses failed to notice. All this, combined with a number of other factors contained in his report, leads to the tragic conclusion that Leshole unknowingly walked into a death trap, when he checked into Tembisa Hospital.

“Whether Mr. Lethole was ‘officially or unofficially admitted’ he depended entirely on the hospital for his needs, wellbeing and care. He was weak, he was on Oxygen, he was already being treated for COVID-19, he had spent the night at the hospital without supper and breakfast. The hospital had a duty of care for Mr. Lethole. He was pleading with his parents to bring him food for lunch or supper,” Makgoba said.

Makgoba: Hospital made no attempt to resuscitate Lethole

The health ombudsman had also found that the healthcare workers failed to administer CPR on Lethole, despite him being young with no comorbidities.

“The decision made not to resuscitate Mr. Lethole was ill conceived and in contravention of the Tembisa Hospital Resuscitation Guidelines,” he said.

Makgoba found that the man had not been regularly monitored at the hospital and was left to fend for himself.