Baby dies after being burned in Mahikeng hospital warmer, health MEC demands action

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The Health MEC in the North West has demanded action following the death of a baby from burns sustained at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital.

North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha and Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development Priscilla Williams visited the hospital to look into the case of a newborn who sustained burn wounds after being placed in a warmer on Thursday.

The baby and mother were transported to Pretoria on Thursday to seek a specialised service at a private facility, but the baby died during the journey.

Sambatha has vowed to take action against those found to have been negligent and placed the life of the newborn at risk.

During his visit to the hospital, Sambatha also addressed several other patient complaints. One patient complained of mistreatment by the nursing staff at the hospital.

“Instead of providing the medical assistance to the patient, the nurses started labelling the patient as ‘MEC’s patient’. Shockingly, the MEC learnt that no action was taken by the hospital management against the nurses involved despite having reported the complaint to the management,” said Sambatha’s spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane.

In another case at the hospital, an administration clerk reportedly instructed patients to go back home without being seen by a doctor or nurse. Again, no action has been taken by hospital management, Lekgethwane said.

“It is shocking that some of our health professionals are careless about the lives of our people in the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital. Such people must face consequences for negligence of their duties and patients. I am determined to restore a sense of service in this hospital and anyone who neglects the call for service must be ready to face serious actions,” Sambatha said in a statement.

The hospital has faced service delivery challenges in the past. Last year, striking in the province saw disruptions at hospitals and clinics across the province, and the South Africa Military Health Service was deployed to provide essential services.

In March last year, City Press reported that patients would not be served meat with their meals, following a strike over dubiously awarded contracts, due to outstanding payments to suppliers.

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