KZN health department probes how injured builder was found dead in hospital ceiling
The recent discovery of a Durban builder's decomposing body in the ceiling of a hospital - two weeks after he was admitted with a broken leg - is being investigated by the KwaZulu-Natal health department.
Newly appointed health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said in a statement on Wednesday that Sandile Sibiya's body was discovered on Friday last week.
Dismissing earlier reports that Sibiya was a mental health patient, Simelane-Zulu said he had been admitted to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital (MGMH) in Phoenix, Durban, on May 10 with a broken right femur.
She said after Sibiya's assessment, a discussion was held with the orthopaedic doctor at Addington Hospital for him to be transferred there. However, he disappeared soon afterwards and was subsequently reported missing by nurses.
"Following an unsuccessful search through various parts of the hospital by security, a case of a missing person was registered with SAPS," she said.
Over time, an unbearable stench began spreading through the hospital, emanating from a storeroom where fluid dripping from the ceiling provided tell-tale signs that something was amiss. Further investigation led to the body.
Simelane-Zulu said Sibiya's relatives identified his body on Sunday.
"A postmortem has been conducted by Forensic Pathology Services (FPS) personnel and will be made available to the next-of-kin," she said.
"The department is meanwhile conducting its own investigation, which is expected to yield a preliminary report by Friday. We will not hesitate to take the strongest possible action should anyone be found guilty of any form of wrongdoing."
The MEC said overcrowding and a lack of beds placed undue pressure on nursing staff, adding that the issue of overcrowding at public hospitals was being addressed.
"As a department, we encourage people to always go to their primary healthcare facility, which is their clinic, as the first port of call. People tend to flock to our hospitals because they believe they will get a better service compared to at a clinic, which is not always true, and then cause congestion," she said.
"We encourage our fellow compatriots to follow the referral system by starting at their clinics because that is where ailments such as common colds and other easily treatable diseases can be dealt with."