Hospital was 'negligent'

TEARS: Elizabeth Boshielo. Pic. Mbuzeni Zulu. 13/02/2007. © Sowetan.
TEARS: Elizabeth Boshielo. Pic. Mbuzeni Zulu. 13/02/2007. © Sowetan.

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Johannesburg General Hospital was left red-faced yesterday after they delivered oxygen to the home of an East Rand man who died of respiratory problems 40 days ago.

The family of Emmanuel Boshielo, who died on January 6, are fuming because they believe that their father and husband would still be alive had the oxygen been delivered on time.

Boshielo, 69, of Wattville in Benoni, suffered from various complications including kidney, lung and heart problems.

He died at his home after he complained about shortness of breath.

The first delivery of the oxygen was supposed to have taken place on December 12.

The family said an Afrox employee, Oupa Motloung, from the Benoni branch, was shocked when he realised that the delivery he was making was for someone who had died.

"He told us he had received a fax only yesterday [Wednesday] afternoon," Precious Boshielo said yesterday.

With tears streaming down her face, Elizabeth Boshielo said her husband might still be alive had the hospital delivered as promised.

"They made several promises that the oxygen would be delivered, but it was not delivered - only when he was dead," sobbed Boshielo.

"Every time we called the hospital we would get someone who couldn't help us or they would give us telephone numbers that would ring forever," she said.

"I hope that my husband will be the last victim of this gross negligence."

Boshielo was admitted to the hospital on November 21 after it was discovered that he had a growth between his bladder and a kidney.

He was to have undergone an operation, but it didn't take place because doctors thought he would not survive the anaesthetic.

He was discharged on December 8 and, according to his wife, the family was told that the oxygen would be delivered within 48 hours.

"They said he could not survive without it.

"But when we called to ask about the delivery, we were sent from pillar to post," she said.

The family said they would meet tomorrow to decide what steps they intended to take against the hospital.

An Afrox employee, known only as Ethel, said: "We work on orders.

"If the hospital didn't place the order we have no way we can know that there is somebody who needs oxygen."

Gauteng Health Department spokesman Vusi Sibiya said the hospital rejected the Boshielo family's account of the events.

"The hospital management has told me that they were never informed about the difficulty the Boshielo family experienced regarding the delivery of the oxygen."

He said the hospital had instituted an investigation to determine what had led to the delay.

"The preliminary results of the investigation are expected, at the earliest, on Friday [today] afternoon," Sibiya said.