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Hospital staff suspended over amputation of baby's arm

Baby Lwandle’s arm had to be amputated after alleged negligence by staff at Bernice Samuel Hospital, Delmas.
Baby Lwandle’s arm had to be amputated after alleged negligence by staff at Bernice Samuel Hospital, Delmas.

Three doctors and a nurse have been suspended from Bernice Samuel Hospital in Delmas, Mpumalanga, after a newborn baby admitted for diarrhoea ended up with her hand being amputated.

Mpumalanga health spokesperson Dumisani Malamule confirmed the suspension of four staff members, saying they were informed of it on Tuesday and that they would remain under suspension until investigations into the matter are concluded.

Mbali Sweleni, 20, the mother of baby Lwandle, who was born on March 9, told Sowetan of her horror as her four-week-old baby had her hand amputated after alleged negligence by staff at the hospital.

“I suspect that they gave her a wrong drip and as soon as they realised they were in trouble, they ripped it off and tried to cover up their negligence,” said the mother.

The Sweleni family told Sowetan that they were alerted to the suspension of the four people on Tuesday by  a representative of the health department. 

Sweleni's aunt Delile Sithole said the news of the suspensions had brought hope that there would be justice.

“However, we are not satisfied because we don't know who they are or [were not] given any other detail on them. We feel like the department is protecting the employees and forgetting the injustice that has happened to our child," said Sithole. 

Medical staff  at the hospital went on a go-slow yesterday in protest against the suspensions of their colleagues. 

The hospital's acting CEO, Sibusiso Mahlangu, said he received a letter of demand from the staff that alerted management that they were on a go-slow.

“The letter stated that they demanded to see a delegation from the office of the  health MEC and the head of department after feeling that they were now four medical staff short,” said Mahlangu.

Mahlangu said the nurses and doctors also felt that they would not be able to fully function without their colleagues at work.

Mahlangu told Sowetan that officials from the Mpumalanga health department had arrived at the hospital to have a meeting with the medical staff. 

The community of Delmas on Monday held a march to the hospital where a memorandum of demands were handed over demanding action. 

The hospital was given until today to reply to the complaints of medical negligence from the community.

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