KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said a video circulated on social media that showed patients at Durban’s Wentworth Hospital in deep distress and calling for help to breathe, was taken at a time when the health facility was “under immense pressure”.
The MEC has launched an investigation into the incident.
Simelane-Zulu and officials from the province’s health department briefed Parliament’s health portfolio committee on Thursday on the COVID-19 situation in the province.
The video also shows patients in chairs or lying on the floor, with no healthcare workers in sight despite patients calling urgently for help.
Simelane-Zulu said a team had been investigating since Monday, and its final report would be made available to Parliament’s health committee.
But she said Wentworth Hospital itself was in deep distress at the time the video was taken.
“It was when the health facility was under immense pressure. On that particular day, eleven of its doctors were in isolation because they’d tested positive, 17 of the nurses were in isolation and some were in quarantine.”
Simelane-Zulu said the department stepped in and was able to help with better management of patients and the provision of more beds.
She said the hospital, which had an acting chief executive for a couple of months, now had a permanent CEO.
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