Mpumalanga hospital ordered to explain how two babies died

08 November 2018 - 12:54 By Nonkululeko Njilo
Shongwe Hospital has until Friday to release a report into how two infants died. File photo.
Shongwe Hospital has until Friday to release a report into how two infants died. File photo.
Image: 123RF/sam74100

The Mpumalanga health department has given Shongwe Hospital until Friday to release a report into how two infants died, amid suspicions that the cause of death was a lack of oxygen.

MEC Sasekani Manzini visited the hospital on Wednesday and formally appointed a team to thoroughly investigate what happened, department spokesperson Dumisani Malamule said.

“She gave the team a deadline of Friday to submit a full report,” he said.

Malamule said that when the matter first came to their attention there were suspicions that lack of oxygen caused the babies’ deaths — but this could not be confirmed.

“The investigation will reveal all the necessary information; we will not speculate at this point,” he said.

Malamule said that no hospital employees had been suspended following the incident.

“We are not going to pinpoint [blame] at this stage. We will allow the team to carry out its investigation and submit a report to the MEC. Only then decisions will be made,” he added.

When asked about the condition of the ward in which the death took place, he said: “In our naked eyes, things seemed to be fine, but that does not mean anything. Part of the investigation is to establish if it is in a good condition or not.”

Malamule said a criminal case with the police would be pursued should the report reveal that the infants died as a result of a human error.

This is one of many incidents countrywide in which children have died in hospital.

Just last month, six babies died from an antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus. The deaths led to the hospital shutting down various wards in an attempt to find the source of the bacteria.

Just prior to that, nine babies died at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital in Coronationville. They died from a disease attacking the intestines of infants.

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