Pretoria – Three hospital staff members and children were among 15 people who died during an explosion in Boksburg on Saturday.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla and Gauteng MEC for Health and Wellness Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko visited the OR Tambo Memorial Hospital on Sunday to inspect the damage done by the blast.
“Sadly, three of the injured staff members have passed on. A driver and two enrolled nurses were severely burnt,” said Phaahla.
He said 37 people – 24 patients and 13 staff members – who were in the hospital’s accident and emergency department at the time of the explosion sustained severe burns.
Phaahla said visits to the OR Tambo Memorial Hospital have been suspended until further notice and those calling to check on their relatives’ well-being are urged to have patience during this time.
The hospital suffered major structural damage.
“Major structural damage was done to the accident and emergency unit and X-ray departments, where server damage occurred.
“The roof was damaged, ceilings fell, windows were broken, and other equipment was damaged.
“Most of the minor structural damages were in the form of breaking of windows; ceilings fell off. On most of the floors where the windows were broken, it was observed that there was blood on the floor, possibly from injured staff and or patients.
“The casualty and radiology departments are not accessible until structural engineers have done their work,” Phaahla said.
The minister said that by end of next week, there will be a high-level report covering various areas to give a sense of the state of the hospital and what kind of work would need to be done to get the facilities on track.
“A team will be send to asses the status of our health technology equipment in the facility so that we know what is the state of its functionality and what it will take to fix or replace the affected machines.”