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Stillbirth in Themba Hospital: FF Plus requests urgent investigation after woman waits hours before being helped

The FF Plus has asked the Mpumalanga MEC for Health, Ms Sasekani Manzini, to look into the irregularities surrounding a stillbirth in Hazyview.

The incident transpired earlier this week after the woman waited for hours at the Themba Government Hospital in the Mbombela Local Municipality (Mbombela/Nelspruit, Barberton, Hazyview, Kaapschehoop, Skukuza, White River) before being attended to.

The FF Plus visited the woman and she explained that a local clinic had referred her to the hospital after they had picked up problems with her unborn baby's heartbeat.

When she arrived at Themba, she had to wait for hours before receiving medical care. When she was finally examined late that afternoon, the baby had already died.

She had to wait for another 24 hours before an induction was done. The reason provided is that there was apparently only one doctor on duty at the time.

According to the woman, it remains uncertain whether the baby could have been saved if she underwent an emergency C-section in time. She was 35 weeks pregnant.

The requested investigation must not only focus on this incident. Solutions must also be found to address the critical shortage of medical staff at the Hospital.

According to one of the nurses in the maternity ward, one doctor is responsible for all the patients in four different wards. And those include the maternity and emergency wards.

The nurse is also the only nurse attending to two units. Themba Hospital is one of the busiest state hospitals in the entire province.

In the Department's report for the 2021/22 financial year, construction is planned to enlarge the filled-to-capacity maternity ward at the Hospital. The serious shortage of medical staff is not addressed, though.

In its 2022/23 budget speech, the Department also said that a line-management system, to manage long waiting hours, was implemented this year, and will cost millions of rand to operate.

In addition, the Department is deep in debt amounting to more than R10 billion in contingent liability as a result of medical negligence.

Themba Hospital is one of the province's greatest culprits when it comes to medical negligence, but still the pressing problem of not enough medical staff is not addressed.

Government's inability to identify and resolve problems is literally putting the public's lives in danger.

 

 

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