Cheryl Kahla
Deputy Online News Editor
2 minute read
26 Aug 2021
10:43 am

More than 3,000 patients still awaiting surgery after Charlotte Maxeke hospital fire

Cheryl Kahla

A fire ravaged the hospital in April and glaring safety gaps at the hospital have been highlighted.

Contractors at work during the Provincial Head of the South African Human Rights Commission. Picture: The Citizen/Nigel Sibanda

Gauteng health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi this week confirmed to the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Jack Bloom that more than 3,000 Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital patients are still awaiting surgery after the fire.

Charlotte Maxeke fire

A fire ravaged the hospital on 16 April and glaring safety gaps at the hospital have been highlighted since in an exchange with Mokgethi, which The Citizen has seen. 

At the time, Bloom said the blame game should start with hospital CEO Gladys Bogoshi.

He also said Bogoshi “should face disciplinary charges along with officials from the [Gauteng] department of infrastructure who did not ensure that the hospital was compliant with occupational safety standards”.

ALSO WATCH: Charlotte Maxeke hospital fire rages into the night

Patients awaiting surgery

It has now been confirmed by Mokgethi that 3,138 patients are currently waiting for surgery, with the backlog breakdown as follows:

  • Orthopaedic surgery – 1351 patients
  • Gastrointestinal surgery – 658 patients
  • Paediatric surgery – 509 patients
  • Organ transplants – 182 patients
  • Neurosurgery – 137 patients
  • Urology – 109 patients

Urgent cases prioritised

As conveyed to Bloom, elective surgery at the hospital resumed in the first week of August, with priority given to the urgent cases.

However, some of those surgeries were performed at other hospitals – including Chris Hani Baragwanath, Helen Joseph and Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

Bloom said the impact of surgery delays led to “progression of the disease, patients being discouraged and some refusing to come back for surgery”.

‘Risky’ situation

He said “pain levels increase as well, and in the case of heart patients delays can complicate surgery and make it more risky”.

“The worst waiting period is for orthopaedic surgery where patients can wait two years for a hip or knee operation.”

He said the DA would “continue to push for the full reopening of Charlotte Maxeke hospital as well as contracts with private hospitals to treat public patients in order to alleviate the suffering of patients on long waiting lists”.

ALSO READ: Fire hydrants ‘part of a bigger problem’ at Charlotte Maxeke hospital