Probe exonerates Livingstone Hospital in death and maggots row

Livingstone Hospital investigations have found that nobody can be held liable for two shocking incidents in which a patient fell to his death from the fifth floor and maggots hatched in the wound of another.

But the family of Zakes Mbeki, 29, who fell from the fifth story of the hospital early on Christmas morning, after he was admitted forseizures, want an inquest magistrate to decide who was responsible.

Clint Morris, whose leg wound became infested with maggots after he allegedly begged nurses for days to change his surgical dressings, has vowed to ensure that the hospital admits to wrongdoing.Morris, 40, had been injured in a scooter accident in December.

Eastern Cape health department superintendent-general Dr Thobile Mbengashe ordered an investigation into why maggots had hatched in Morris’s wound.

Provincial health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said investigators had concluded in both cases that nobody could be held responsible.

He said it was not department policy to make the reasons for the decisions public. “With regard tothe Mbeki case, no individual was found to be responsible for Mr Mbeki’s death.

“The management had redress meetings with the family and they have accepted the investigation report. The complaint was closed.”

Livingstone Hospital chief executive Thulane Madonsela said interviews with patients who saw what happened revealed that Mbeki had thrown himself out of the window.

Mbeki’s uncle, well-known businessman Weza Moss, said they had been informed of the outcome of the internal investigation.

“It is neither here nor there for us,” he said.“We have given our statement to the police last Friday and the in- quest investigation is going ahead.

“We want a magistrate to decidewho is responsible.”Of the Morris case, Kupelo said:“The Morris case was investigated by a team from infection prevention and control and the hospital’s quality assurance unit, and the report found nobody was responsible for the incident.”

Morris was not informed of the outcome of the internal investigation, but his lawyers were.“They [hospital] had the opportunity to come clean, but they didn’t,” he said.

Morris said he was taking the matter further and the hospital had already received a lawyer’s letter.“I am not stopping. We will get the law to force them to admit they are wrong.”

Eastern Cape health crisis coalition action group spokesman Fikile Boyce said the medical ombudsman should be called in to investigate.

“These findings are very disap- pointing, how can the hospital absolve their staff?” he said.DA health spokeswoman Celeste Barker said she would ask Health MEC Pumza Dyantyi to explain.

“This is a cover-up or a deliberate dereliction of duty,” Barker said.“The Mbeki case was highly suspect from the outset.

“The DA is appalled to hear that our department of health lacks either the will or the capacity to conduct a meaningful investigation into these cases.

“This non-finding is highly dubious and an embarrassment to the province. It cannot be possible that such overt neglect is brushed under the carpet.”

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