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Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has rejected claims by a man that a patient at uMlazi’s Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital died after his medical file was swopped with his.
Mpumelelo Ngcobo, 37, said his file was mistakenly switched by hospital staff after he was admitted to the hospital on September 12, suffering from diarrhoea.
This was reported in the Daily News on Monday.
He said he had been given medication meant for the other patient, Mbukeni Ngcobo, who was admitted the same night after suffering severe headaches for three days.
Both men, who have the same initials and surname, were in the same ward.
Mbukeni died the next day.
Mpumelelo alleges that he was given Mbukeni’s medicine and that, without the correct treatment, Mbukeni had died.
However, the department has described his claim as “ludicrous and untrue”, calling it a deliberate attempt to undermine the good work, dedication and loyalty of the hospital staff.
“The department would like to categorically refute claims that a patient died as a result of him not receiving appropriate treatment due to the mix-up of files,” said the department’s spokesman, Sam Mkhwanazi.
He said Mpumelelo was admitted to the hospital for a reason that did not require medication and that he had not been given any treatment because he was waiting to be seen by social workers.
“The patient who passed away was admitted for a serious condition and upon admission into the ward was immediately put on treatment which continued until he passed on,” Mkhwanazi said.
However, it does appear that the two files had been mixed up, but Mkhwanazi said this happened only later, when a doctor had to certify that Mbukeni had died.
“It did not happen during the period when the two patients were being admitted at the hospital, as they were not admitted at the same time,” Mkhwanazi said.
But Mpumelelo insisted that this was not the case. He also said he was injected the day after he was admitted.
“It is written in Mbukeni’s file that I had been injected. On Saturday morning, I asked a nurse if I will be getting any treatment, and she said they will give me another injection at midday. That was before they discovered that our files had been mixed up,” he said.
Mpumelelo said he had fallen asleep after he had been injected and the next morning he found out that a patient in his ward had died. He said he had thought nothing of the death until a doctor came to his ward and asked for Mbukeni Ngcobo.
Mpumelelo said his file had the name Mbukeni Ngcobo in it and at the time he had assumed that it was the doctor treating him, because further down the page the initial and surname “M Ngcobo” was written and he had assumed that was his name.
Mpumelelo said his family had been mistakenly told that he had died and preparations for his funeral had begun.
He became aware of it after his sister had gone to the hospital to ask for the cause of her brother’s death, only to discover that he was alive.