Preliminary report finds sick man did not die in KZN hospital parking lot
Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has received a preliminary report which shows that 67-year-old Sibusiso Khumalo died in a ward at Pietermaritzburg’s Northdale Hospital last week and not in the parking lot as alleged.
This was revealed in a statement issued by the Department of Health late on Monday evening.
The department’s spokesperson, Noluthando Nkosi, said contrary to previous reports that Khumalo died in a makeshift flu clinic in the hospital’s parking lot where he was first screened, the report’s finding revealed otherwise.
Khumalo died in the early hours of the morning on August 1. His daughter, Hlengiwe Khumalo, posted a video on social media that showed how patients were kept under a structure and separated by pieces of tent material in the parking lot.
The video also showed hospital beds, equipment and plastic chairs in the improvised patient cubicles where her father allegedly died.
Khumalo’s video triggered an outpouring of support for the family, but also held the Department of Health to account for its negligence and lack of empathy. Khumalo said her father complained that he was feeling cold, but “the nurse said there was nothing she could do about it”.
This incident led to the suspension of medical and nursing managers pending the investigation, while the hospital’s acting chief executive was deployed to her previous post of maternal health specialist.
It also resulted in national Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize visiting the facility during a three-day visit to the province last week.
Khumalo refused to comment on the latest finding in the preliminary investigation.
“I have not seen anything or heard anything from the department or hospital about this preliminary investigation. I am still waiting for the details, so I cannot comment right now on anything,” she said.
Following the preliminary investigation, Nkosi said the department had now decided to expand the scope of the investigation “in order to deal exhaustively with other pertinent challenges that have been identified at the hospital”.
“A more comprehensive report is expected in two to three weeks, after which the Department will make public pronouncements on this matter.”
Nkosi said that since the reported incident at Northdale Hospital, the original flu clinic - which had partial openings - had been dismantled and replaced with a “more solid and suitable” temporary structure.
“The Department’s Infrastructure Development Unit has identified a site within the hospital where a more permanent flu clinic will be built.”