Nurses' axing sends strong message

Sibongile Morudu holds Precious, whom she helped deliver as parents Thomas Rakhavha and Elina Maseko look on.
Sibongile Morudu holds Precious, whom she helped deliver as parents Thomas Rakhavha and Elina Maseko look on.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

The sacking of three nurses who refused to assist a pregnant woman at a Tshwane clinic, sends a strong message to all health practitioners.

When a car transporting Elina Maseko to hospital broke down near Stanza Bopape Clinic in Mamelodi East on June 30, she went inside hoping to be helped to deliver her baby. Instead, nurses mocked her for being pregnant at 46 years old; they said she was too old and therefore "high risk" and refused to touch her.

She gave birth outside the facility and was assisted by her niece, who was with her at the time. Fortunately, her baby survived.

Yesterday, the Gauteng health department said the nurses had pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct for refusing to attend to Maseko and were then fired.

We commend the department for treating this matter with the seriousness it deserved. The nurses' behaviour was unacceptable, the woman or the baby could have died as she gave birth outside without any medical assistance.

Public health practitioners are notorious for ignoring their duties of saving lives and behaving as if they are doing patients a favour by attending to them.

Just last week, a woman's newborn baby died in Marble Hall, Limpopo, after she was forced to give birth outside a clinic, in rainy, cold night.

Sandra Phoku was allegedly turned away twice by security guards at the Marulaneng Clinic after she went there complaining of pains.

She was first sent back to fetch her clinic card and when she returned with it she was told nurses had knocked off as it was 5pm. Phoku also gave birth on the street. Nurses came out to assist after the delivery but sadly her baby died shortly afterwards. That matter is still being investigated.

It was great to hear the health department's sanction on the Maseko matter.

Well done to the officials.

Now, nurses know there are serious consequences for this kind of misconduct that would leave them unemployed.

We hope the action will lead to better treatment of patients where they are attended to with care and compassion. If you are wicked and do not care about the people you are serving, you should have never ever become a nurse.

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