It’s gloves off in Germiston mortuary spat

Mortuary workers say they don't have gloves to perform post-mortems, which means bodies can't be released to grieving family members.

A dispute over a shortage of specialised gloves at the Gauteng forensic services department in Germiston has led to delays in the release of bodies this week, it emerged yesterday.

Workers at the facility refused to perform post-mortems, claiming government had failed to deliver the correct protective gear.

A grieving family from Mpumalanga has been awaiting the release of their loved one’s body since she died on Saturday last week, according to brother-in-law Jabulani Ngwenya. He was worried he would have to postpone the funeral.

“We went to the mortuary yesterday. They told us they cannot perform a post-mortem because it is too dangerous, they did not have the gloves.”

According to Gauteng Forensic Pathology Services acting CEO Dr Medupe Modisane it was not a shortage of gloves that led to the industrial action this week, but the refusal by workers to wear the ordinary surgical gloves that were available.

“There have been advancements in technology,” said Modisane. “In the past surgeons and pathologists used ordinary surgical gloves, then we started using thicker gloves and now we have cut-resistant gloves. There have been delays in delivering to facilities and some have run out.

“The older gloves are still being used everywhere else, but in Germiston, they are refusing. They want the new ones.”

Representatives for the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union were not available for comment at the time of going to press.

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