Gauteng state hospitals record high number of patient deaths due to medical negligence

A high amount of deaths in public hospitals are caused by negligence
A high amount of deaths in public hospitals are caused by negligence
Image: 123RF/Lucian Coman

Gauteng public hospitals recorded 3,832 patient deaths last year due to 10,741 Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) which were the results of avoidable medical negligence.

Of the 15 public hospitals in Gauteng, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital had the highest number of SAEs with 1,763 patient deaths followed by Steve Biko Hospital with 893 deaths.

This was revealed by Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku in a written reply to DA questions in the legislature. DA MPL Jack Bloom said despite the high number of SAEs, only 77 cases were referred for disciplinary action.

“An SAE is defined as an event that results in an unintended harm to the patient by an act of commission or omission rather than by the underlying disease or condition of the patient.

“These figures are highly disturbing. They highlight severe management problems in public hospitals and lack of consequence for medical mistakes which leads to court cases and huge payouts that drain the health budget,” Bloom said.

He said another indication of poor care is the 1,052 cases of hospital-acquired pressure sores which are reported as SAEs.

“As they have direct impact on the patient’s average length of stay in hospital, increase cost of treatment and may lead to body disfigurement,” Bloom said.

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