Shonisani Lethole: Damning findings into man’s death

Health Ombudsman Professor Malekgapuru Makgoba has found that Tembisa Hospital acted negligently and failed to administer proper care for Shonisani Lethole.

Makgoba released his report on Wednesday, January 27, 2021.

The 34-year-old man had been admitted to the hospital for breathing problems – and was confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19 only after his death.

Before his passing, Lethole had reached out Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to complain about the conditions at the hospital and said he hadn’t eaten in days.

Now Malekgapuru’s report has found that that Leshole hadn’t eaten for a total of more than 100 hours – that’s a little over four days.

“The first failure to offer him food was when he arrived at the hospital on the 23rd to the time when he was admitted to ward 23, on the 24th, around midnight, when started to have food the following day. The second in the timeframe was when he was sedated, he was on mechanical ventilation and nobody inserted a nasogastric tube. He was never fed until he died,” he said.

An investigation into Lethole’s death was launched at the request of Mkhize.

Malekgapuru said Tembisa Hospital should have never been designated as a COVID-19 hospital as it was “like a zoo of people supposed to look like patients”

Shonisani Lethole death – Doctors were ‘negligent, callous and uncaring’

The ombudsman was further scathing of the healthcare workers

“The health-care professional team of doctors and nurses conceded to the investigation to this negligent, callous and uncaring omission. This uncaring attitude represented gross medical negligence,” Makgoba said.

He said the hospital management team mislead then Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku about the state of the facility and recommended that action be taken against him.

Malekgapuru has recommended that Gauteng health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi should urgently appoint an independent forensic and audit firm to, among others, conduct a fit for purpose competency assessment of the leadership and management staff at the hospital.

Makgoba said Mokgethi should institute a disciplinary inquiry against Dr Lekopane Mogaladi, the CEO and accounting officer of the hospital, for presiding over the saga.

“Tembisa Hospital and its medical team of health providers must take accountability and responsibility for this substandard and negligent care provided Mr Lethole,” he said.



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