Gareth Cotterell
Digital News Editor
2 minute read
30 Nov 2021
1:48 pm

Patients moved after ICU flooded at fire-damaged Charlotte Maxeke hospital

Gareth Cotterell

ICU wards that are treating Covid-19 patients had to be closed and poor maintenance is being blamed.

Patients were transferred from the main ICU ward at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital after a burst pipe resulted in flooding. Picture: Gallo Images/The Times/Sydney Seshibedi

Ventilated patients had to be moved out of wards, including the main intensive care unit (ICU), at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital after a flooding incident on Monday.

The flooding is suspected to have been caused by a burst pipe on level 16 of the hospital.

Dr Peter Belasyse-Smith, an anaesthetist, tweeted about the flooding at the health facility on Monday, saying “first fires, and now flooding”. He said many of the patients that had to be relocated were “ventilated and unstable”.

“I’m waiting for the plague of frogs or locusts,” Belasyse-Smith added.

Kwara Kekana, spokesperson for Gauteng health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi, said the water had since been drained from the hospital.

“The issue has been resolved … The hospital team will continue working with department of infrastructure to resolve the piping issues in the facility,” said Kekana.

Jack Bloom, the DA’s health spokesperson in Gauteng, has blamed the incident on poor maintenance at hospital.

“There have been problems with leaking pipes at this hospital for many years, which is due to poor maintenance,” said Bloom.

Bloom said the closure of the ICU wards, which are used for Covid-19 patients, came at an unfortunate time.

“It is extremely unfortunate that the flooding has affected the ICU for Covid patients, which is vitally needed as we face a surge of fourth wave cases,” he said.

Broken air-conditioning

Bloom also revealed that a PET scan machine used for diagnosing cancer patients at the hospital has not worked for more than three weeks because of broken air-conditioning.

Replying to Bloom’s questions in the Gauteng legislature, Mokgethi said up to 150 cancer patients had been affected by the lack of PET scans at the hospital.

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The air-conditioning unit was due to be calibrated on Monday, but this was delayed because of the flooding.

“It is most distressing that cancer patients face further delays in treatment because of poor maintenance at this hospital, which often results in broken machines and flooding that disrupts operations,” said Bloom.


Parts of Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital are still not fully operational after being damaged by a fire in April.

In July, the Gauteng MEC for infrastructure development Tasneem Motara said the areas affected by the fire would only be fully operational in 2023.

The Gauteng health department also said it would cost about R1.1 billion to fix the fire-damaged sections of the hospital.

NOW READ: More than R1 billion required to fix fire-ravaged Charlotte Maxeke hospital