The Provincial Legislature learned a horrendous truth in the house on Tuesday, after the DA questioned how many fatalities attributed to Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) had occurred at hospitals in Gauteng during 2018. A large majority of these cases are caused by negligence, and it has resulted in thousands of deaths.
Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku confirmed that there had been over 10 000 reported incidents, resulting in 3 832 deaths over a 12-month period. It was also disclosed that just 77 of these cases have actually been referred for disciplinary action.
An SAE is defined as “an event that results in an unintended harm to the patient by an act of commission or omission”, rather than by the underlying disease or condition of the patient. Here’s how the top 15 hospitals in Gauteng fare in terms of the most-recorded cases of negligence:
Jack Bloom is the shadow health secretary in Gauteng. He described the numbers as disturbing, and highlighted the horror faced by newborn babies and their recovering mothers. The DA representative slammed the “severe management problems” for causing so many avoidable problems:
“These figures are highly disturbing. They highlight severe management problems in public hospitals and lack of consequence for medical mistakes which leads to court cases and huge payouts that drain the health budget. I am most concerned by the 2 307 recorded deaths of newborn babies and 238 maternal deaths.”
“There were also 866 Septic Caesarean Sections and 1 148 cases of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy which causes brain damage to children deprived of oxygen. It’s further evidence of public sector incompetence that’d doom the proposed National Health Insurance, which is administratively very complex.”Jack Bloom
Meanwhile, the Freedom Front Plus also registered their disgust. They went one step further, directly blaming the ANC for making hospitals in Gauteng look more like “abbattoirs” than healthcare facilities.
“The fact that South Africa’s state hospitals have turned into abattoirs and mortuaries can and may no longer be tolerated. Meanwhile Department of Health’s underspending of approximately R1 billion during the 2018/19 financial year is a shame and a slap in the face of the people of South Africa.”Philip van Staden