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Dr Gray: What really happened to the young man who died last weekend

Last week a young man died after he was allegedly denied emergency treatment at two hospitals outside Durban. Following a public outrage over the tragic incident, two doctors and a nurse were identified and suspended by the health department. But sources at the hospitals say the official line doesn’t tell the whole story – and that the medics are taking the blame for a tragedy that was not of their making. A very pissed off DR THOMAS GRAY explains.

Nineteen-year-old Reveshen Pandather was involved in a PVA (medical lingo for pedestrian vs vehicle accident) in Verulam, just north of Durban last week.

After being knocked down and seriously injured, it is understood that the young man was reportedly stabilised at the scene by paramedics who attempted to transfer him to the nearby Osindisweni Hospital.

Speaking on the telephone with Osindisweni, the paramedics were told the hospital did not possess the necessary facilities to treat the heavily injured patient and were instructed to take the patient to Mahatma Gandhi Hospital instead – or so we are told.

On arrival at Gandhi hospital, the paramedics were told to take the patient to the Addington Hospital in Durban, where the patient could receive the required level of care.

dr gray diffThe patient subsequently went into cardiac arrest while still at Mahatma Gandhi Hospital and passed away.

Loss of life, especially that of a young person, is always tragic for healthcare practitioners. And the dubious circumstances surrounding this young man’s death only makes the incident harder to accept.

But the manner in which the incident is being reported: that it was a case of “doctors and nurses refusing to treat him” is not only false, but highly, highly problematic. We all hate poor service and where there is a loss of life concerned, we despise it. But when a few medical staff are blamed so decisively for an incident that any medical professional working in this country would agree has a thousand variables, I have to call out the bullshit.

No doubt, something went wrong last Saturday. A young man died because he didn’t get treatment. But the story is far more complex than that.

Please do not understand this as an attempt to soft-pedal the tragedy. Instead, it’s an appeal to get to the heart of the issue, so the right people are held accountable and so such mistakes do not happen again.

Let me explain.

Not all hospitals are equal 

Let’s start at the beginning, with the hospitals.

Both Mahatma Gandhi and  Osindisweni Hospitals are regarded as “district” hospitals. Mahatma Gandhi is located in the  impoverished township of Phoenix just outside of Durban, while Osindisweni is located in Verulam, further north.

They function as entry-level hospital care centres for most non-life threatening conditions, including minor trauma, and general medical care for children and adults. Neither hospital has on-site surgical capabilities.

This implies that they are not designed to care for a moderately or seriously injured patient who may require anything ranging from emergency surgery, ICU, or ventilatory support. The only hospital they are able to refer patients to is indeed Addington Hospital, a secondary or tertiary level facility with the capabilities to assist in such emergencies.

This does not mean that emergency medical services or paramedics do not take seriously injured people there (knowingly or unknowingly, I don’t know) because as can be seen by last week’s case, it happens. For those patients who do arrive and need immediately stabilisation, the decision to treat them or refer them to Addington Hospital, King Edward (or if they are lucky: Albert Luthuli Hospital) is obviously based on their condition and several other factors.

The variables
Now that we understand that the hospitals, by their nature, do different things, let’s look at the variables that determine how or if a patient will receive treatment during an emergency situation:

1. The level of experience of staff on the hospital floor
Often major trauma occurs in the early hours of the morning, sometimes they occurs in large numbers. It’s not unusual for an intern (read: a-wet-behind-the-ears doctor) to end up saddled with a patient with an issue that is way beyond their experience

2. The resources available
This is a major issue and its no surprise that both Mahatma Gandhi and Osindisweni are short of life-saving drugs and even monitoring equipment.

3. The level of experience and training of ambulance staff
To transfer a critically ill patient one requires an ALS (advanced life support) crew in addition to an ambulance. The scarcity of these personnel delays early transfer and definitive management of these patients.

4. The willingness of a surgical team to accept a patient
Surgical teams are already overburdened. Nobody likes to accept patients under such conditions. So these are the conditions, the variables. Once you understand them (not accept, because they are unacceptable), it helps one make sense of the circus that is public sector health.

The tragedy
So what happened that night?

I admit that I’m no investigative journalist, but it didn’t take me long to find out that the media were latching onto a completely bogus and unfair version of events.

Let’s look at the facts according to my sources at the hospitals in question.

The accident occurred in Verulam, which drains to Osindisweni. Mahatma Gandhi hospital did not need to be involved.

They were instructed by the doctor on call at Osindisweni to take the patient directly to Addington but defaulted on this instruction. Mahatma Gandhi was not informed of the patient’s impending arrival either (which is routine practice in the management of heavily injured trauma patients).

A private ambulance service (you can easily find the name of the company if you wish) arrived on scene and transferred the patient. This particular company does not have any staff trained beyond the six-week Basic Life Support (BLS) crash course, which means they are not trained to handle severely injured patients, such as the one in question. By implication, they should have called a suitably qualified crew (ALS or Advance Life Support) to take over. They didn’t.

Here’s something you didn’t know. Had they called in a more qualified crew, they would have lost their R2,500 commission.

And it gets worse.

I have been told that the patient had such a severely depressed level of consciousness (indicating severe head injury), that he needed artificial airway and breathing measures.

This translates to a tube down the throat and a machine to help the patient breathe, which needs to be done by an ALS crew.

Failing to take this action compromises oxygen supply to the body, especially the brain, resulting in severe brain damage and eventually death.

By the time the patient arrived at Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, he was completely unresponsive and not breathing.

A tube was placed to secure his airway as described above and attempts made at resuscitation immediately upon his arrival. The reports indicate that he was attended to by three well-trained doctors and a senior nurse.

Unfortunately, he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

A fourth doctor had already telephonically arranged with the surgical doctor on call at Addington Hospital to receive the patient.

It turns out that this doctor, a celebrated army captain, was one of three medical staff suspended this week. In the face of public outrage, provincial government decided to cut staff in a hospital already overburdened and short-staffed.

The doctor in question was also made to suffer the double humiliation of being “escorted” off hospital premises in full view of his patients and colleagues. A district physician, asked to conduct an investigation on the incident, is likely to release his findings any day now, but early signs suggest that government is looking for an way way out.

Will they consider the shortages of resources and staff? Will they explore how such a mediocre private ambulance service got the tender? What will the investigation find out that we already didn’t know? To the general public, these are all “hospitals” that are meant to save lives. And they should. If they [the hospitals] could.

But as we have just learnt, not all hospitals are created equal. Irresponsible journalism and the disturbing trend of using doctors as scapegoats for a dysfunctional and backward health system makes me – and all doctors – sick.

Dr Thomas Gray (*not his real name) is a doctor living (and slowly dying) inside a public hospital. He’s here to tell us what’s happening inside our hospitals. He would share his name with you, but then he’d have to kill you, and that would be unethical. If you have information to share, about this story, or any other aspect of our public healthcare system, do get in touch.

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25 Comments
  1. Zhinelle Pillay says

    Hi. Jus wanted to commend you on a brilliant article. Hats off to you for bringing forth the only version of the story that needed to be told in the first case. The doctor in question is one of the most brilliant minds I’ve ever met n I have personally worked with him. If I were ever dying I would hope he would resuscitate me.

    As for he paramedics in question. They are a bunch clowns with no concept as to how to start a resuscitation and I have worked with them as well.

    In all fairness i hope that justice is served to the media bullys ( paramedics)

    My condolences to the family of the 19 year old. I pray that God grants you strength in this time.

    Once again. Thank you for making it known

    1. Godfrey Pillay says

      My dear niece, the doctor that you are referring to is your friend and I am certain that he would go the extra mile for you.

      With regard to the paramedics that you call a “bunch of clowns”, – they are not doctors, so they took the patient to the doctor who refused to treat the patient. Whether or not they were private or govt paramedics it does not change the fact that your friend was one of the doctors who is alleged to have refused to treat the dying child. I do not re-call you ever having worked with these paramedics except when they were helping you.

      It was those “clowns” that stopped all work to find the blood that your father, my brother needed to save his life – after doctors in the private sector said that we must prepare ourselves for his death.

      It was the same “clowns” who attended to and took your unconscious ex-boyfriend (who is also a doctor) to hospital, and then traced his family to inform them of what had happened.

      If they are “a bunch of clowns”, good for them. At least they attempted to help – they did not fail to try. If your friend is wrong you can still stand by him cos that’s what friends do but don’t place blame on innocent paramedics who did their best in the circumstances to help that child.

  2. Jenny pillay says

    Thank you for your side of the story . It saddens me to think of how far we have come to be so consumed by money and default on not doing the right thing ! Where are the government big shots who are supposed to ensure health care is made accessible available safe efficient …. Empty promises ? Always !!! I am a dedicated nursing professional and never experienced such a low level of care for sick people in past
    It’s only decayed with democracy I truly pray for a change of government who will appoint well qualified people to utilize the budget efficiently and with integrity . Not someone who’s is self seeking but with beneficiance social justice and not harmimg the poor and vulnerable. All we can do is pray God will reward them with what they deserve …..

  3. Josh Moodley says

    Hi It’s evident that you do not write with a straight pen. 

    Just to correct your “version”  of the events.

    I have been following this incident closely and I no the ambulance service quiet well.

     The person that died was treated by an intermediate life support medic from the same service.

     Attempts to contact an ALS were made.

    The only people supporting the doctors are staff of Osindisweni and Gandhi Hospital.

    The suspension orders that were given were done by the M.E.C who did so after he interviewed staff from both hospitals and found irregularities in their testimonies.  

     The intermediate life support medic from the ambulance service was interviewed by the department of Health. 

    The person that is writing the article is the suspended doctor who refused to treat his patient and is desperately trying to gain public support. Some of the hospital staff have also given a statement confirming the incident. 

     Whether an Als is called or not the road accident fund still pays ambulance services for their part and intervention so Dr. Grey is completely misinformed in regards to the billing procedure.

     I have seen these guys on several scenes and I know they do not hesitate on calling Netcare when they need advanced life support. I am sure Netcare can confirm this.

      You make the doctors look like hero’s in this article yet the incident was witnessed by a neighbor of the deceased who broke down when the guy died and questioned doctors why they refused to help. 

     The M.E.C has appointed an investigation team into this matter and it’s obvious, like previous incidents, it will be covered up hence the continuous murderous behaviour of doctors in provincial hospitals will continue.

    Take note that this company has reported the incident however if you watched the news it would have confirmed that they are not the only ambulance service that is going through this. A medic from Crisis ambulance service was interviewed on television and on East Coast Radio and also complained about the services provided by provincial hospitals.

    Hundred of people have had horrific incidents at provincial hospitals and sadly nothing comes out of complaints that are put forward.

    In closing I would like to ask all doctors that work in provincial hospitals if they have medical aid for themselves and their families? If the level of care is so good and the doctors are so professional I wonder why they would not want to get treated in the same facility that they work in. 

    1. Mike says

      Hi Josh,
      I don’t think you totally understand the point I think the article is trying to make. It is trying to imply that the doctors and hospital (and actually the paramedics which I think you think are being blamed) and extremely under resourced! It doesn’t matter what skill and training you have, if you don’t t havehe necessary resources you can do nothing. Government needs to step up and improve the facilities! There are far too few ambulances with trained crew, far too hospitals with adequate facilities and doctors working in horrific conditions. The medical aid point you brought up is completely irrelevant; of course doctors have medical aids, they know the private sectors is much much better resourced! If they can afford it why not use it? But at the same time try their best to improve public health despite such tough circumstances!

    2. rinesh chetty says

      Attempts to contact ALS were made? When was this down by the BLS crew? @scene? En route to Osindesweni? Or possibly whilst diverting to Addington as per orders and then recognising that the patient was dire thus diverting to closest hospital MGH? Blaming all four doctors that tied to intubate and transfer the patient on arrival at MGH or the BLS Crew/intermediate is not fair because they did not fail this young man. The person who failed this young man is the MEC himself for the poor system and facilities in the DFR. The lack of funds/ staff and experience is what fails every patient like this, these issues are always at the heart of every tragedy. .

      On my opinion is this poor patient had a poor prognosis even if the ALS team where 10 even 5 mins away, he must of had a major ABC issue.

      Btw: If ever I have a family member that is involved in an MVA, I would rather want them be stabilised by four on site medical officers and numerous training specialists than a single doctor with qualified specialists that are minutes if not hours away.

      Their chances of getting immediate recognition and treatment for acute ABC issues will occur quicker in a government institute than in private casualty. Mainly because there is more numbers to handle the emergency.

      I think all the healthcare providers probably tried their best and it was just a dire situation.

  4. Simone says

    I salute the paramedics that reported this issues that we as service providers face everyday because of arrogant doctors and nurses. It is alao quite obvious that these doctors and nurses that are guilty will post false reports. Accept or be in denial. This is happening at most provincial hospitals. Lets this be an eye opener and a wake up call for all doctors and nurses who take the job for granted. Salute to paramedics and Health Minister for taking action.

  5. Jennifer Somaru says

    PLEASE NOTE: Dr Thomas Gray has been posting on this site before the Mahatma Gandhi incident, So the allegation that the doctor posted this is absurd. Josh, perhaps you should have seen that prior to posting that and making false allegations. I have also been following this case very closely. ILS qualifications were not adequate in this case. In my opinion, The paramedics have a lot to lose on this case, I’m sure when they had realised that what they had done was wrong and attempted a smear campaign against the doctor. Its very easy to bay for public support when Government tends to mess up so easily, but in this case, its a private ambulance service who in my opinion is trying to cover up their mismanagement. A media smear campaign is an easy way to do this, perhaps all the documents from this case should be made public for perusal, including the ambulance handover notes. A GOOD indicator would be the condition the patient was found…. Namely state of airway, GCS etc… Remember, Mahatma gandhi Hospital and Osindisweni are in different towns, through a rural area…If ALS was called out, did they really take that many hours to respond… Also, does this Paramedic service have their own ALS on standby… Why was the airway not secured prior to moving this clearly dying patient from one place to another. Clearly someone must be afraid if these notes aren’t been made public. Disgusting behavior by the paramedics if you ask me….. And possible litigation if it is reviewed closely! What’s sad is that a nurse that is 59 years old resigned, a year from pension age to avoid litigation as she was scared. Shame on the paramedics! Step up and own that responsibilty instead of being cowards!

  6. Jennifer Somaru says

    And also, Is this the same ambulance company who’s non compliant helicopter went crash-bang in Verulam recently and who’s still under investigation???

  7. Yash says

    Why is the doctor speaking lies and blaming the paramedics. My family was there when my cousin dies and it was the doctor that didnt want to help

    1. Azad Essa
      Azad Essa says

      Hello Yash, Our team has tried to get in touch with you via the email address posted. But your email address either has a mistake or is invalid. Please do send us a msg via the contact form, if you are willing to talk us more about the family’s perspective on the matter. Regards, The Daily Vox

  8. JHB AEA Medic says

    I’m well aware that most of the private services practicing in Durban and all around Use BLS Crew of which as per HPCSA they need to be supervised either by an AEA or an ALS, but then our government is also making the same mistake using BLS Crew to ran an ambulance but that doesn’t justify that it’s right to use BLS crew only in the ambulance

    My blame goes back to the M.E.C not providing necessary measures to advance our hospital regardless of the type of the hospital. Yes we have a Doctor working at a district hospital but why not supply him with necessary equipment to meet his capabilities so that he can do what’s on his job description? Do we have to loose a life so our complaints can be taken seriously? I’m an AEA and I’ve once been in a situation whereby I was 2min from a Level one government hospital and ALS was 30min away but decided to go to hospital and do what I can enroute because honestly patients like this needs a hospital not ambulance crew, we don’t have X ray, CT scan, MRI blood test and out environment is not that hygienic

    I was in distress as well as the Dr that was treating my patient as there were both aware that what the patient needed the hospital couldn’t provide as there’s no equipment to do so

    Maybe loosing life’s it will send a message to the M.E.C and all involved parties our there but what about our injured brothers and sisters who need medical assistance?

  9. Petros says

    This is bullshit. Doctors are treating their patients like dirt. Even doctors in private hospitals have lost interest in providing good care. I went to Voctoria hospital and was treated by Dr. Wolfsun in casualty. She clearly didnot want to treat me because I am African. When i raised my voice at the manner in which I was being treated then only did she come to check on me and while being treated she kept passing comments which i felt were racist. Doctors need to understand that their work is to help people no matter what colour or culture they are. Im not saying that all doctors behave in this manner but their are a few who think that only whites and indians can afford medical aid and will go to private hospitals.

  10. Moosa says

    I’ve heard that nurses want bribes from patients else they won’t offer the care. Is that true? What shambles!

  11. clinton pillay says

    It’s seems like all of url are very mistaken and are making the doctors to look like God, I am a retired paramedic who was in the industry for 24 years as an ils and have worked would BLS medics and have seen almost everything. Doctors and nurses from government hospitals tend to treat patients like dirt every minute of day they seem to not understand the job title they have taken, they seem to not understand what they are getting paid for, we have seen all paramedics be it what level they are, how these nurses sit and sleep at night, how doctors are not in the casualty at night, when paramedics bring in a patient who is ill and need medical care, they just have a don’t care attitude. Is a doctor are nurses mind so slow. that they have forgotten there job description???? And as u can see or if u are even following the media Mr GRAY, a lot of other patients have come out and aired there sad stories as well, CAN’T YOU SEE THAT SO MANY PEOPLE ARE DYING EVERY SINGLE DAY, BABIES, THE ELDERLY DUE TO THE unprofessional lazy DOCTORS AND NURSE MY PERSONAL FAMILY MEMBERS HAV DIED DUE TO THE ILLTREATMENT at these hispitals, TALK A Walk into a government hospital instead of sitting behind a phone or computer and and see for your self what these kind of stuff are doing in the hospital. Url say that this is a level one or level two or whatever level a hospital is, BUT a hospital should be able to treat a patient or atleast stablilze A patient so that he or she can be transported out to a hospital that can handle him. The doctors try to push the blame onto the medics so that they can not be called a killer, but they are, THOSE four doctors are killers, what if it is YOUR child who was brought infront of that doctor and he refused to treat him, let alone even ask what’s wrong would him, isn’t that ethical wrong???? Isn’t there something about that in the human rights act??? We are not stupid people Mr gray and neither are those paramedics or company that transported that patient on that day ……… I’m was a paramedic and I live for this job when we treat someone we do it would all our heart and iv seen that company treat patients before and they do a wonderful job and I’m sure hundreds off people will agree, well done to them for bringing this stink out, it is sad for all those who have lost there lives due to these miserable doctors and nurses, SO WE’LL DONE AGAIN. And again Mr gray you are not part off the investigation team so your fax and information will not be right and as we can see its a one-sided comment from you. So sir get you facts right before you do something you should know that your a doctor. Anyways I am not going to tell you the right story again and again because it is all over the news and paper go back and read.

    Just one more thing again as it was side as u your self way are the doctors and nurses not treated at the same hospital they work at…….

  12. Tamar says

    Clinton, i agree that a lot of doctors and nurses are miserable. But i don’t blame them. I used to be a miserable doctor working in a KZN government hospital. I went in there with a full heart, confident that i could make a difference. But after a couple of years of working ridiculous hours, trying to provide a quality service to an overwhelmingly large number of patients, often without basic recourses, only to hear my patients blame me for their suffering under poor hospital conditions, my hope just ebbed away. I left there with a broken spirit.
    I have since worked in a western cape government clinic where I once again regained faith in a system that works, because here patients are receiving excellent care, and you can see the difference in the staff’s attitude and morale.

  13. Tania Reddy says

    Sadly the loss of such a young life is tragic for everyone involved.

    I firstly must thank Dr Gray for his enlightening depiction of the series of events.

    I do not wish to rehash what everyone has already commented on. Neither do I wish to assign blame to any party. There are flaws in all organisatons, all systems, things can and will go wrong.

    Sadly the loss of such a young life is very tragic. The days must be dark for this family.

    All we can do is pray to grant them strength and courage to deal with their loss and face each day from here on. I am sure they need peace and strength to start picking up the pieces and trying to live again.

    I would like to also inform you that the suspended doctor is a colleague for many years.

    He is a highly respected individual by both medical, non-medical staff and patients.

    The true value of his worth can be seen in the eyes of all the patients he treats , young and old and of all races.

    He displays this quiet confidence, unwavering patience, a kind and compassionate heart.

    He possesses a strong humility and dedication to his patients. Those of us who work with him, see this.

    He is one of the doctors who studied medicine for the right reasons.

    He could have chosen to leave public service and join the private health care sector like scores of other doctors, where the financial rewards are immense. But he has chosen not to do so. He has chosen to serve the people of disadvantaged communities.

    (He is not the only one though, there are others too.)

    It is also well known that he volunteers extra hours at the hospital.

    We see patients queuing outside his examination room, waiting for him, and refusing to be seen by other doctors.

    Patients often fight with each other in the queue to consult with him, and often the security staff have to intervene.

    His patients choose to wait extended periods of time, just to consult with him.

    He has this endearing way with elderly patients, and they adore him.
    He often goes beyond the call of duty.

    Its a pity that none of you, get to see our colleague work like this.

    When I look at him work, I think with admiration “God does his work through this young man, with his hands on him and he is gifted.”

    The gentle, kind, and patient manner he displays motivates us to better at what we do.

    This is to enlighten you about the character of this doctor. He is loved by his patients and well respected by his colleagues – that’s a fact.

    He is not the only one – there are many doctors and nurses who work tirelessly at Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, and who do go beyond the call of duty, under trying conditions.

    Sadly some unfortunate events occur at the hospital are reported in a negative light, and from a biased perspective at times. The media sensationalises certain incidents and reports from a very accusatory perspective without considering the bigger picture, the facts and variables at play.

    I salute you the doctors and nurses – those of you that work hard and tirelessly, at Mahatma Gandhi Hospital.

    From a spiritual perspective – remember one thing – we didn’t not chose to work at Mahatma Gandhi Hospital – the hospital chose us to work there.

    To my colleague, the suspended doctor – God will guide you through this, have no fear, you have your colleagues support, we know the truth.

    I pray this does not prompt you to leave public service, that would be a tremendous loss. The world survives because of people like you.

    Don’t be disparaged by negative comments. People are angry and emotional and that’s normal.
    See this as a test of faith and life. This could have happened to any doctor.

    To the driver who knocked this young man – there is no mention of you????

    To the family – we express our heartfelt condolensces. I don’t think any amont of words could comfort you at this time. Seek comfort, strength and solace through prayer.

  14. clinton pillay says

    Yes you are right people are angry who wouldn’t be a life has been lost, so do not thank anyone for writing any enlightening depiction because his words are wrong. 2nd of all we don’t care if he was a wonderful doctor in the past, the matter off the fact is he failed, as a highly experienced doctor (like ill say) to treat that poor boy at that moment, thus him passing away…..

    Have u ever heard the saying, ‘it will take life time to build a good name but just a minute to r it all. And yes I don’t disagree would you that he is a lovely man to you Tania and those few patients who he knows but what about the 100s of patients he hasn’t been good too what about them.
    So yes just like a man who rapes a child should be put into jail, a doctor who has studied for so many years should know better.

    If the doctors, nurses and whoever else says that a patient can’t come here, and can’t come there, my question is WHERE DO THE SICK AND INJURIED GO, DO THEY SIT ON THE ROAD TILL THEY DIE…..?

  15. Jennifer Somaru says

    Clinton, your replies are clearly biased. You don’t even know the doctor yet you say he has mistreated 100’s and only is good to a few. The mere fact that you can call this particular doctor lazy and unprofessional is in itself unprofessional and biased. Nobody can take those comments you made seriously because you were not there! For you to dismiss what Tania has said without actually knowing him is just baseless slander. You are trying to evoke emotional responses from the family and community by basing your opinion on mere statements made by one side of the story in simple media sensationalism. THE FACTS: Nobody asked the ils and bls paramedic to move the patient without an als from scene and starve his brain of oxygen for the time it took to move between towns. Also, the excuse ‘we tried once and couldn’t get through’ is laughable… How can you ‘try and not get through’ for hours when there are several als facilities available that wouldve been happy to help…I personally have called three and they confirmed that no call was made to them just to make sure! They obviously knew this would be an issue, which is why they are trying to blame the doctor. I think public clarity will be achieved when the doctor involved is allowed to address the media. There are also 2 things that need to be rectified… Family members are not allowed into the resusc unit at Mahatma Gandhi so the story that people saw the doctor refusing are false, and the time the family is contacted by the police or hospital will be documented in the file, so I suggest we await official confirmation of this , secondly, the Department hasn’t released a statement about the incident… it may be able to set a few records straight with some parties left with egg on their face… There are also allegations that the doctor in question wasn’t even the treating doctor and was only singled out as he was the oldest one there. Either way, making character assaults like “doctors and nurses in govt are unprofessional and lazy” is a real bad slap in the face for some wonderful people who carry this healthcare system on their backs and work thanklessly and tirelessly. I have seen stats for Osindisweni and Mahatma Gandhi. They have the worst staff to patient ratio in the province. Yes… A young man has died. Would he have been alive had he been intubated and tranfered to an appropriate facility from the scene like protocol dictates? BIG questions… Maybe we should all just wait for the documents involved to be released (and they will be made public), so we can have a totally non biased opinion about what went down that day. That is the only fair way to do this. In the meantime, yes we can have opinions, and yes we can have some bad experiences at government institutions… BUT can we call the doctors and nurses in state unprofessional and lazy… That is definately unfair and ungrateful. My neighbour has had her cardiac failure treated at Osinidisweni for years. She says, she cannot believe the number of patients a doctor has to see there and each time she goes there, is given the friendliest and most efficient treatment. Its all relative I guess, we cannot speculate. I know what it feels like to lose family members in state, its just as horrible as losing them in a fancy private hospital. Destroying staff members lives be it a paramedic or a doctor or a nurse by ruining their reputations publicly is definately a poor reflection of our own insecurities. Before we turn against each other, would it not be a better option to await official reports and then for us to draw conclusions like our constitution has allowed us to do. We all know the Department doesn’t allow their employees to make media statements, which basically means these staff members have to take public criticism without a voice? Wouldn’t it be fair if we had His or Her side of the story? Just a thought….. Perhaps the daily vox should ask the Department for a statement.

  16. Moosa says

    Clinton, you seem to have a personal vendetta against this doctor? What’s up with that?

  17. cameron says

    Hi Clinton. I think ur jus upset with doctors in general. Perhaps u wanted to be one n u didn’t make it. It’s ok I too wanted to be a doctor but I’m glad I turned into an attorney and successfully so. Mrs Tanya you sound like a voice of reason and there is no hostility in what you are saying. We should respect what you’re saying. Clinton you basically sound like someone that has been feeling left out from an important position n now you are hostile.

    Yes Tanya the job does choose u
    That’s the truth.

    All I can say is Clinton take a step back n stop making the paramedics look so ridiculously uneducated in the way you speak.

    It’s easy to assess these things when you read the whole lot or conversation. People can’t help but agree with what seems like a fair minded opinion that’s written in a calm mature manner.

    I still although feel that we should await official information before arriving at conclusions and attempting to blame people from either side

  18. Derman says

    Laughable…That’s all I can say about this article. I thought that doctors had brains but it’s becoming evident that some of them have bought their licences therefore they continue to murder patients. Just out of curiosity someone mentioned that the 59 year old nurse resigned due to the “allegations” levied against her. Her resignation makes it quiet obvious that she was guilty and before she is dismissed for misconduct she chose to take her package. Dr. Grey dreamt up this article in the hope of restoring faith in the public regarding the attitude of doctors and “how considerate they are towards their patients”. All hogwash I tell you, doctors are money driven and not passionate anymore. Friends of mine at work were talking about this article when someone mentioned that if you “palmed” a doctor in a provincial hospital you would not have to wait in line. If you do the math 100 patients at R50 makes R5000 a day, tax free. Can pay for the Mercedes benz and the house in umhlanga rocks without touching the already thick salary they earn. Now I’m waiting for the backlash from every doctor here who gonna complain that they are not paid enough for the hard work they do and for the service they provide to mankind. Save it.. I and the public that are affected by the provincial health care system don’t want to hear how you wanted to own a C63 Mercedes benz but had to settle for a golf 7 gti cause you couldn’t afford the instalment on the merc.

    1. nabila says

      Ps. Resigning after having a an assault on your character and professionalism is definitely not an admission of guilt. It could easily be that the nurse decided it’s just not worth it anymore. Don’t jump to conclusions. Your bitterness and assumptions make you come across as quite a douche.

  19. nabila says

    I am shocked at amount of vitriol aimed at the medical profession. While I admit that often services both in private and public leave a lot to be desired, I have met very few doctors who are as callous as many of the commentators would lead us to believe the majority are. The majority of the doctors who I have worked with are dedicated to their work and patients and often work well beyond their overtime because they really care.
    We often we work in severely underresourced environments and that is often detrimental to our patients who have long waiting times, and often inadequate care as we simply don’t have the equipment or supplies to treat our patients as we would like to. Often patients assume that we are being lazy and relaxing when we are busy in other parts of the hospital seeing to other patients or are working in a different unit to the one they are admitted to.

  20. nabila says

    While I don’t know the details of this case specifically, there is not much than an ordinary doctor can do in the case of a severe trauma without appropriate facilities. To be able to assess and treat the patient as effectively one needs access to facilities – ventilators /sonars/CT scanners/emergency blood/blood gas machines. Depending on the patient’s condition they might need an urgent operation and one needs surgical facilities for that. Time in these cases is precious and these patients need to be taken immediately to a facility that is prepared for and capable of managing their level of trauma. Trauma centres are classified according their capabilities to prevent unnecessary delays to care which result in tragedies like this one.

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