Slow progress in investigation into deaths at George Mukhari hospital Burns Unit

Issued by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
10 Nov 2019 in Press Statements

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has ordered a forensic investigation into the deaths of 9 patients at the Burns Unit of the George Mukhari Hospital three years ago.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

The Burns Unit was built with a R3 million donation from the Smile Foundation and another R3 million from the Department of Infrastructure Development. It opened on 21 November 2016 and was closed in January 2017 because of the deaths of patients.

Medical experts allegedly warned that patients would die because of inadequate ventilation in the unit, but certain officials insisted that the opening go ahead.

Another allegation is that the Hospital CEO Dr Freddy Kgongwane failed to inform the then Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa that 9 patients had died and claimed that clinicians had only raised concerns about the ventilation system after the opening rather than before the opening. Dr Kgongwane is currently suspended facing a range of charges on this and other issues.

I am concerned that three years after the deaths forced the closure of this Burns Unit, we have still not seen effective action against at least three allegedly implicated people.

Patients have suffered as the Burns Unit has only recently been re-opened.

There needs to be accountability as soon as possible for any deaths that could have been avoided at this Burns Unit.