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Tembisa hospital contests Shonisani Lethole report, but not Gauteng health

Department distances itself from hospital CEO's 'individual' challenge

28 January 2021 - 12:07 By kgaugelo masweneng
Shonisani Lethole, before he died, took to social media to reach out to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Shonisani Lethole, before he died, took to social media to reach out to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Image: #JusticeforShoni/Change.org

The Tembisa Provincial Tertiary Hospital says it will review the health ombud's damning report on the care and death of Shonisani Lethole, 34.

Dr. Lekopane Mogaladi, Tembisa Hospital CEO, told TimesLIVE on Thursday that the report contained false and misleading information. He claims the hospital was not afforded an opportunity to cross-examine the evidence contained in the report.

“Not all staff members were interviewed for the report and they rejected affidavits of patients who were witnesses. The ones they went with for the report, it's one-sided,” Mogaladi said.

“Ironically, there were 38 patients in the ward but only one person did not eat.”

The Gauteng department of health, however, said it does not intend to challenge the report.

The department, and by extension its facilities which include Tembisa hospital, remains committed to implementing the recommendations of the report within the prescripts of the law, once the department has concluded studying the report and its findings, it said.

“Those who have expressed intention to challenge the report will be doing so in their individual capacities. The MEC for health in Gauteng has already pronounced on the approach of the department as it relates to the report,” said the department.

According to the health ombud's report, Lethole died of overwhelming SARS-CoV-2-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome, with multisystem dysfunction compounded by poor and negligent medical care.

It also found that Lethole was not offered food during his stay in hospital for a total of 100 hours and 54 minutes.

Lethole's lifeless body spent 10 hours and 15 minutes on a hospital bed until a doctor certified him dead the next day. He died on June 29 at 10.30pm, as recorded by a professional nurse.

The doctor on duty was called twice by nursing staff to certify Lethole's death, said the report. Dr Babayombe Bangala did not respond. Bangala was busy resuscitating another patient in another ward, who ultimately died.

However, the report said, Bangala failed to follow up on the request from his colleagues to assist and knocked off without certifying Lethole dead.