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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Limpopo dept probes death of patient denied access to clinic by security guards

Ramathuba says the patient was denied entry into the clinic by the security guards due to load shedding.

The Limpopo Department of Health has launched an investigation into the death of a patient who was allegedly denied access into Northam Clinic in the Waterberg District at the weekend.

According to the department, the 23-year-old man, who was bleeding from all his body orifices, was brought to the clinic by his family in the early hours of Saturday morning.

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“Instead of allowing them access, security guards informed them that due to load shedding, they will not open for them but rather opted to give them contact numbers for Emergency Medical Services,” said MEC Phophi Ramathuba’s spokesperson Thilivhali Muavha.

By the time the ambulance arrived, the patient had already died. Nurses on duty were only informed after the patient had died, said Muavha.

“While we are still waiting for the full report on what transpired, we are hurt, saddened, and equally angered by the allegations. Denying access to healthcare services contradicts our commitment to upholding basic human rights.

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“We reiterate our plea to security guards to adhere to their duties and refrain from triaging patients, a responsibility outside their expertise. Our heartfelt condolences go to the family of the deceased.”

Northam clinic’s back-up plan

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, Ramathuba said Northam Clinic operates 24 hours for “quite some time”.

She said although the clinic has a generator, however, it could not kick in at the time due to “the current frequency of load shedding”.

The department is dealing with the matter, she said.

“However, as the department, we have plan b in case a generator fails to kick in due to the frequency of the load shedding. Our generators end up being overused and stop functioning at some point,” she said.

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“But every clinic has lights which we use, they just need to be charged. We have distributed them to all the clinics, whether it has a generator or not.”

The lights were functional at the clinic at the time.

“The equipment we used to take blood pressure and other medical tests have a built-in battery. If there is no electricity, they can still function up to three hours,” she said.

“We do not see the reason these security guards would have denied the patient access because the report we got from two professional nurses and other staff members is that the nurses were on duty and waiting for patients. Our nurses were denied the opportunity to try and save the patient.”

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Health Department Phophi Ramathuba

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