The badly decomposed body of Rose Mosikare from North West lead to her distraught family lodging a formal complaint with hospital management, after they went to collect it for burial on 27 October.
This has lead to the suspension of the implicated official, following added outrage and pressure from the Democratic Alliance (DA), African National Congress (ANC) and the provincial health department itself, who demanded that no stone be left unturned in holding those responsible for the incident accountable.
OFM News reports that, according to Health MEC, Madoda Sambatha, the deceased was admitted to the hospital on 6 September 2020 after falling ill. Following a CAT scan, she was transferred to Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp to have a tumour removed.
Mosikare was transported back to Mafikeng Provincial Hospital following the operation, which is where she died on 25 October. It’s believed this is when the porter, placed her body in the dysfunctional fridge drawer.
The family received counselling and a written apology from the department, before taking Mosikare’s body into their custody for burial.
The DA has, however, described the apology as a “feeble one” in their statement, emphasising that the “poor quality of care provided in provincial medical facilities is costing the department billions of Rands each year in medical negligence claims”.
It is unknown if the family intends on suing the hospital and the department.
The ANC in the province has described the incident as “an abhorrent act”, that is “an antithesis of our African culture and traditions. Like other nations, Africans always display immense respect for the departed. The families of the deceased too, expect to have the memory of their loved one respected”.
Sambatha says the suspension is only the beginning of what is to come, with regards to internal processes. The department has launched an investigation to probe the matter further.
This isn’t the first time the Mafikeng Provincial Hospital has come under the spotlight for its shortcomings. In 2018, as the North West capital descended into chaos, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployed at least 57 nurses and 7 doctors to assist with patients.
The hospital had been noted for suffering from chronic staff shortages and a lack of resources. It seemed, however, that the tide had been turned in 2019.
- This article originally appeared on OFM News and was republished with permission