Bloemfontein retirement village nurse suspended over 14 Covid-19 deaths
Disciplinary hearing to begin on Monday into whether alleged flouting of health protocols led to fatalities
A nursing sister working at an upmarket Bloemfontein retirement village has been suspended following the deaths due to Covid-19 of 14 elderly residents and her alleged failure to implement health protocols.
Her suspension and subsequent disciplinary action relates to a Covid-19 outbreak at Striata retirement village between May and June this year.
Prof Voet du Plessis, a trustee at the retirement centre, confirmed the deaths and the nursing sister’s suspension to TimesLIVE on Friday.
He declined to elaborate on the suspension or charges which the nursing sister faces.
“What I can say is that it relates to insubordination and the failure to carry out and correctly follow Covid-19 protocols. A disciplinary process will begin on Monday. The hearing relates not only to the deaths, but also other matters. The matter is sub judice so I cannot go any further into the details,” he said.
Asked if the retirement village’s management would be pursuing criminal charges against the nursing sister for the deaths, he said they would not.
“We definitely won’t be,” he said.
He said the trustees were in shock about the deaths, which had occurred in the past two months.
Du Plessis said most of those who died were over the age of 80.
He said most deaths occurred in the last two weeks of May, “when nine residents died”.
“The last resident died from Covid-19 last week. It is not only the residents who have been affected. Several of our staff have also been affected by the outbreak and become ill.”
He said it was difficult to say who had brought the coronavirus into the centre as it has been open for residents to come and go and for deliveries.
Du Plessis said they had increased protocols following the deaths.
“We are also in communication with the families of the deceased.”