62 psigiatriese pasiënte nog vermis na Life Esidimeni-skandaal

Dit lyk soos ’n lys soldate wat ná ’n oorlog vermis is in aksie – maar in die werklike lewe is dit die lys van die Gautengse departement van gesondheid se lys van 62 psigiatriese pasiënte wat met die Life Esidimeni-skandaal verdwyn het.

Die pasiënte kan nêrens opgespoor word nie nadat hulle vanuit die sorgeenheid na verskeie ongeregistreerde sorgsentrums oorgeplaas is.

Altesaam 143 pasiënte is sedert die verskuiwing dood.

’n Arbitrasieverhoor word tans gehou onder die voorsitterskap van regter Dikgang Moseneke.
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Cancer patient dies after being sent home because he was ‘going to die anyway’

A DURBAN man diagnosed with stage four cancer was reportedly refused treatment at Addington Hospital. He said he was told he was old and “going to die anyway”. He wanted justice for other elderly patients.

The Sunday Tribune Herald spoke to him earlier in the week, and on Saturday, he died. By this time, the Sunday Tribune Herald had already been printed.

This was his story:

Hoosen Noor Mahomed, 60, of Charlotte Maxeke (Beatrice) Street wanted to share his story in the hope that others like him won’t have to endure such treatment.
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Listeria: Follow SA’s medical sleuths as they chase a killer in a race against time

A mechanical hum fills the small room where James Bond is working to track down a killer. His name is printed in black letters on the side of his body.

But this James Bond isn’t the world’s most famous secret agent. It’s one of three gene-sequencing machines at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg.

Working along its Matrix-inspired counterparts, Neo and Niobe, Bond is the size of an average desktop printer. But the state-of-the-art devices can determine the genetic make-up of animal and plant cells in about three days.
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Another project costing a whooping R127-million on a condom no one wanted?

Every year, South Africa distributes tens of millions of female condoms, making the country home to one of the largest female condom programmes in the world, research published in the 2017 South African Health Review (SAHR) shows.

The tenders for these condoms are big business. The government paid billions to suppliers of male and female condoms, as well as lubricants, for three years as part of the most recent tender.

The health department should be commended for ramping up the number of female condoms it has bought and distributed over the past decade, surpassing its own target of 25-million annually in 2015/2016, the research reveals.
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Probe launched after patient falls from bed – RIP MR JC Botha

Photo’s not for sensitive viewers.

The provincial health department is investigating an incident at Livingstone Hospital’s oncology unit after the family of a terminally ill Sidwell man found him hanging half off the bed, his face covered in blood.

The family claim they called for 10 minutes for a nurse before someone came to help JC Botha, 57, who is suffering from terminal lung cancer.

However, the department says that when a nurse asked the family to help get him back on the bed, they refused and instead took photos.

Photographs on social media show the man with a bloodied face.

Barry Glass, 56, of Sidwell – who is married to Botha’s sister, Shirley – said the sight of their brother hanging from his bed had moved Botha’s sisters to tears.

“JC is a good man. He worked his fingers to the bone for his family. Then he got lung cancer,” Glass said.

“He has been in Livingstone Hospital for 19 days.

“It has shaken me to see how he is being treated there. He is dying. He can’t breathe.

“The oncology unit is the most beautiful, clean state [facility]I have ever seen, but everyone who works there is rotten to the core.”

Glass said the family had been visiting Botha on Tuesday.

“After visiting hours, the security guard came to tell us we must leave.

“We went outside for a smoke and, at 6pm, we went back as it was visiting hours again.

“That was when we found him,” he said.

“He was lying with his feet on the bed and his head on the floor.

“His face was covered with blood.”

Botha had then been placed in a cot bed with protective railings.

“We called for a nurse for 10 minutes,” Glass said.

“One [told] me: ‘Ag shame, sir, at least he doesn’t need stitches.’

“I can only hope that God will come fetch JC soon. He is really suffering.

Health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo confirmed that Botha had fallen and sustained a cut to his face, and the matter was being investigated.

“At 6.15pm [on Tuesday], a nurse was called by relatives to come and assist because the patient fell out of bed,” he said.

“On entering the room, the nurse found the patient hanging upside down from the bed with blood coming from his face.

“[He] had been nursed on a low bed with side rails, hence half [his] body was still on the bed.

“The patient had tried to slide off the bed. The relatives did not want to assist the nurse on request, but rather took photos.

“The patient was assisted back on the bed and the doctor was called to examine him. He did not sustain any injuries [other than the cut to his face]. The blood was wiped from his face.”

Kupelo said the oncologist had explained that due to Botha’s condition, his blood vessels were distended, which would cause excessive bleeding.

“According to our records, the patient was well cared for.”

Botha lost his battle against cancer and died late last night (24/01/18), his sister-in-law, Cindy Botha, confirmed this morning.


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Union stops its nurses from escorting patients

The provincial branch of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) is stopping its members from escorting patients from one health care facility to another.

The union said its members had been exploited and overworked for too long, with the Health Department “dragging its feet” on employing paramedics qualified to handle referrals and transfers.

Mandla Shabangu, Denosa provincial secretary, said the department had disregarded their demand to stop using nurses to escort patients who were being transferred to other facilities.

“We told the department to stop this by the end of this month, but in a circular issued on January 10, the department said it would do away with the practice by May,” he said.

“This practice forces nurses to work outside of their professional scope and has been unfair to both nurses and staffing levels at health facilities. It is paramedics who should be doing this task as they are trained to do so,” Shabangu said.

He said this practice undermined the nursing profession.

“When a nurse escorts a patient, there is no replacement for this nurse in a ward. And this escorting has been used by the department as means to avoid addressing the shortage of paramedics.

“Nurses are being used to fill the gap, worsening the already dire shortage of nurses in government health care facilities. This is exploitation and must be stopped by end of this month,” he said.

He blamed the poor treatment meted out by nurses to patients on work overload.

“One colleague less in a ward means work overload to the remaining colleagues, hence the grumpiness and sometimes the never-ending complaints about poor treatment of patients by nurses,” Shabangu said.

Dr Imran Keeka, DA spokesperson for Health, said the problem was the shortage of paramedics in the province.

“Using nurses as escorts reduces the ability of nurses to function. The province has an average of 180 ambulances on the roads.

“On average, we should have 10 paramedics per shift as per the national health norms and standards.

“During visits to two ambulance bases in the Amajuba and uThukela districts last year, the bases operated on 30% to 50% less ambulances.

“This escorting increases workload and stress, and it creates angry nurses,” Keeka said.

Department spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda did not address specific questions regarding the number of paramedics needed in the province.

“The department has now approved a new policy to escort transferred patients. However, nurses will still be required to accompany mental health care users. The new policy will take effect on May 1,” she said.

Daily News

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Vrou sterf wat glo in Warmbad- provinsiale hospitaal laat val is

Die kankerpasiënt wat verlede week glo deur verpleegsters op die vloer laat val is in die Bela-Bela (Warmbad)- provinsiale hospitaal, is Maandagmiddag dood.

Charmaine Caldwell (48) is omstreeks 13:10 dood, sê Leonie Brooks, haar suster.

Caldwell is verlede Maandag per ambulans na die hospitaal geneem toe haar toestand verswak het.

Haar familie was geskok toe hulle haar Dinsdag besoek en groot blou kneusmerke op haar rug gesien het. Daar was ook ’n diep wond aan haar voorkop. Sy het nie die merke gehad toe sy Maandag in die hospitaal opgeneem is nie.

Sy het vir haar familie gesê dat verpleegsters haar laat val het toe hulle haar van die bed af opgetel het.

Brooks wou antwoorde by die bestuur van die hospitaal hê, maar sy het teen Vrydag nog geen terugvoering ontvang nie.

“Dit is verkeerd dat ’n verpleegster, verpleegsuster of dokter wat ’n eed geneem het om mense met respek te behandel, so optree. My suster is beslis nie met menswaardigheid hanteer nie.”

Brooks het ’n klag van aanranding by die polisie in Bela-Bela aanhangig gemaak. Sy het ’n brief gestuur aan dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, minister van gesondheid, oor wat met haar suster gebeur het. Sy het Vrydagmiddag erkenning van ontvangs van Motsoaledi se kantoor gekry.

Thabiso Teffo, woordvoerder van die departement van gesondheid in Limpopo, sê ‘n ondersoek word gedoen.

Teffo en Derick Kganyago, nog ’n woordvoerder van die gesondheidsdepartement in Limpopo, het teen Maandagmiddag nog nie op skriftelike navrae gereageer nie.

Borskanker is in Februarie 2017 by Caldwell gediagnoseer. Sy het chemoterapie en bestraling ondergaan, maar teen einde verlede jaar het dokters gesê “die kanker is te aggressief” en dit het na haar longe versprei. Sy het verlede jaar ook ’n beroerte gehad.

Deur: Netwerk 24

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Discovery Health recovers R568m through fraud-control activities in 2017

According to Discovery Health CEO, Dr Jonathan Broomberg, efforts to curb fraud in the healthcare system resulted in R568m recovered on behalf of client schemes in 2017, compared to R405m in 2016.

Further, fraud-control activities in which health professionals and others contemplating fraud desist from committing fraud in reaction to visible policing and action by Discovery Health, prevented additional fraud to the value of approximately R3bn over the last two years, adds Broomberg.

Discovery Health has invested substantially in fighting the scourge of healthcare fraud. Efforts include the deployment of a specialised team of over 100 analysts and professional investigators as well as a proprietary forensic software system that uses sophisticated algorithms to analyse claims data and identify any unusual claim patterns. Invaluable tip-offs from whistleblowers also help to identify fraud.

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The volume of cases reported to the forensic unit continues unabated with the trends of the top offenders, provinces and types of offences remaining relatively unchanged. Gauteng (2,595), KZN (916) and the Western Cape (773) had the highest number of fraud cases reported in 2017 with the Northern Cape (5) having the least number of fraud cases reported in 2017.

Top offenders

The vast majority of healthcare providers are honest, hard-working, highly ethical people who deliver diligent care to their patients. However, analysis of forensic investigations reveals that a minority of healthcare professionals committed fraud against medical schemes, resulting in significant costs to schemes and their members. Discovery Health data also shows that general practitioners and pharmacies are amongst the top offenders while paediatricians and ophthalmologists had the lowest number of cases reported in 2017.

“Medical aids are not-for-profit entities, solely funded by member contributions. This means that schemes have finite resources from which to pay member claims. The burden of lost funds as a result of fraud would be significantly more serious in the absence of our rigorous approach to investigating potential fraudulent behaviour and dealing decisively with fraud when it is identified. Without this rigorous approach, fraud depletes the available pools of funds needed for healthcare treatment for members, and also drives up premiums,” explains Broomberg.

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Types of offences perpetrated against medical schemes

The main offence in 2017 was claims submitted for services not rendered for medicines and medical devices never supplied. A common trend in 2017 involved pharmacies supplying members of medical schemes with non-claimable items such as baby formula, nappies, cosmetics and shoes yet submitting claims for prescription medicines. In other instances, medicines or services are supplied to non-members and are then claimed using a member’s medical aid card. Sometimes pharmacies or doctors dispense generic medicines, yet claim for higher cost original medicines.

Discovery Health has also exposed doctors who admit healthy patients to the hospital and submit false claims on their behalf to both their medical aid and to the member’s cash-plan (a lump sum, cash pay-out that helps to pay for any shortfall in hospital fees covered). The proceeds received by the “patient” are shared with those in the fraud syndicate.

Fraud threatens the future of healthcare

“Discovery Health has invested substantially in fighting the scourge of healthcare fraud. Although we have secured large recoveries as a result of our fraud avoidance efforts, we believe that this is only part of the story, and fraudulent activity and billing abuse most likely costs medical aid schemes several billion rands per year. These precious funds could be used to pay for the critical healthcare needs of our medical aid members,” explains Broomberg.

Alongside a host of other local medical aids and their administrators, Discovery Health is working closely with the South African Medical Association and other industry bodies to ensure zero tolerance for fraud, and to ensure that all offenders are brought to book. “As a criminal offence, healthcare fraud not only tarnishes the good name of honest health professionals but is a grave injustice against medical aid members, driving up premiums and depriving them of benefits,” adds Broomberg.

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LifeEsidimeni: Did Qedani Mahlangu send patients to their deaths for political gain?

Alone and under siege. That’s how former Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu will face the families of 143 psychiatric patients who were sent to their deaths under her watch in 2016 and 2017.

She will not have the luxury of the anonymity she enjoyed in London where she found shelter from the public glare after her resignation in February last year, and she will not have the backing of her erstwhile departmental managers.

If her track record is anything to go by, Mahlangu will not accept any personal blame for the shambolic plan to move 1300 patients to NGO facilities when she is expected to the stand Monday at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings.

It’s Mahlangu’s testimony that the families of those who died in atrocious circumstances – in pain, hungry, thirsty, cold and neglected – have been waiting to hear.

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Described as “extremely arrogant” by opposition politicians in Gauteng, she has until now only accepted political accountability for the deaths because they occurred under her leadership as the MEC for health and therefore the “final authority in the department”.

Maybe the former MEC watched the live stream of the Parktown hearings from London, where she has purportedly been so busy being a full-time post-graduate student since August that she could not appear at the hearings until now.

If Mahlangu has followed events in South Africa, which she surely must have, she will realise that her political support has waned drastically, leaving her to face the families – and potential criminal charges – without the standing she used to enjoy within the ANC.

A valuable and tireless worker on the campaign trail, she was an important fundraiser for the ANC and considered to be close to former ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile, who has had a tense relationship with Premier David Makhura. When news of the deaths surfaced, Mahlangu was “busy with political work” as head of the ANC’s elections team in Gauteng, according to Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba’s earlier report on the catastrophe.

Ironically, says the DA’s shadow health MEC for Gauteng Jack Bloom, the disaster might have been as a result of Mahlangu’s efforts to cement her standing within the ANC.

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“She was fixated on cancelling the Life Esidimeni contract. I think she wanted to prove the state can provide the services better and cheaper and that this could be one of her great accomplishments. Instead, it turned into a great tragedy.”

Not only did the plan backfire, but the political balance of power in the province has since shifted. With Mashatile on his way out of the province after being elected as the ANC’s treasurer-general at the party’s December conference, Makhura is set to take the party’s reigns in Gauteng.

Makhura has been at pains to paint the province as efficient and well-governed, ANC insiders say, and “not like Zuma’s government”. Similarly, the ANC in Gauteng has sought to distance itself from “Zuma’s ANC”.

He was furious when the extent of the Life Esidimeni scandal became known, according to sources – not only because of the lives lost but also because of the reputational damage to his leadership and ultimately fears that the scandal may contribute to the ANC losing power in Gauteng in 2019. Mahlangu allegedly initially refused to step down as MEC, but was pushed to do so by the Premier.

Makhura has repeatedly denied any knowledge of plans to move Life Esidimeni patients to community-based organisations in what became known as the Gauteng Mental Health Marathon Project.

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“I would like to state categorically that the decision to transfer Life Esidimeni mental health patients to NGOs was not made in consultation with the provincial executive council,” he said in his 2017 state of the province address.

But, in separate interviews with Bhekisisa, Bloom, as well as his Economic Freedom Fighters and Freedom Front counterparts in Gauteng, Mandisa Mashego and Philip van Staden respectively, said they don’t buy Makhura’s response: he must have known about the decision to move the patients and should take responsibility for the deaths.

Bloom pointed to questions he had been asking in the legislature since 2015. “There were various points… that the premier could have and should have intervened. And once the deaths became known, he should have fired his health MEC or demanded her resignation. That is his burden; that he could have saved lives.”

The EFF’s Mashego, however, believes the ANC is still protecting Mahlangu, a member of its provincial executive committee. And he and Van Staden agree that she was allowed to continue her studies in London to save the ANC the embarrassment of her evidence at the hearings – a plan that, if it was indeed the case, has flopped spectacularly as her absence only served to infuriate families more.

Mahlangu has variously stated that things had not been “hunky-dory” at the facilities privately run and owned by Life Healthcare before the Gauteng department of health ended its long-running relationship with the hospital group. She has alleged that Life Healthcare had not provided patients with clinical files and even implied some patients had been dumped by their families who were “no longer interested in looking after them”.

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This despite the fact that very few if any Life Esidimeni patients would have been able to live at home without expensive, around-the-clock care often out of the financial reach of their families.

After reluctant and evasive evidence from her senior officials in the first weeks of the hearings last year, where they all tried to shift responsibility for the tragedy, Mahlangu is now the person who will be expected to piece together the puzzle that former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke has been trying to build.

Why, exactly, was she so adamant to end the contract with Life Healthcare?

Why were 1 300-odd patients rushed out of Life Esidimeni, transported like cattle on the back of open bakkies to ill-equipped and unlicensed NGOs where unqualified staff had no idea how to care for them?

Why were the patients’ relatives not told where they went?

How did so many patients die?

Why did officials – and Mahlangu – ignore protests, pleas, warning after warning, even court action?

How could they lose track of psychiatric patients?

If she did watch the broadcast of the hearings, Mahlangu would have heard Ntombifuthi Dladla relive how she had to identify her brother’s decomposing corpse in a stinking mortuary months after Joseph Gumede had died at the Anchor Centre in Cullinan.

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She would have heard the horror of the smell and the flies in the minibus in which they had to transport Joseph’s corpse to Soweto. She would have heard that the undertaker could not dress him as maggots were coming out of his body.

She would have heard of families finding loved ones among piles of corpses in mortuaries that resembled butcheries; of psychiatric patients walking around naked in the cold; of some being so hungry that they nearly ate napkins; of overdosing on medicine.

Mahlangu’s head of department, Barney Selebano, and mental health director, Makgabo Manamela, resigned last week before the hearings reconvened.

But not before they painted their former boss as an MEC who would not take advice from anyone, and instead, ruled by fear.

It was from the MEC that the pressure to move patients to NGOs came, Selebano testified last year. When he did raise concerns, she allegedly asked him if he was a spokesperson for Life Healthcare.

Selebano said he was too scared to stand up to her.

“There was no space to differ with her. Going forward, your relationship would be difficult.”

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Manamela, a weak witness who angered the families with rambling and conflicting accounts, refused to accept any responsibility. She fingered Mahlangu and Selebano, saying she merely followed her superiors’ orders.

These accounts confirm the Health Ombudsman report.

After he interviewed Mahlangu, Makgoba wrote: “The MEC was blowing hot and cold in responding to most questions. Asked when looking back if she thinks it was a good decision, the MEC gave an account that when a policy decision is taken you don’t know how it will unfold.”

Many people told the ombudsman that Mahlangu had said her “decision was final and non-negotiable and the project had to be done”, the report stated.

If Mahlangu did watch the broadcast, she will know the families want dignity. That they simply want to know what happened. That they deserve more than denials and arrogance.

That is if she watched, and was not too busy with her studies.

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Bejaarde dame van 90 glo mishandel by Residentia Palmoord Ouetehuis

Die 90-jarige bejaarde se bene was vol blou kolle en merke toe haar vriendin haar uit die Residentia Palmoord Ouetehuis verwyder het. Personeel van die ouetehuis het dit glo nie behandel nie.

Vriende van ’n 90-jarige vrou wat vir drie jaar in Residentia Palmoord Ouetehuis gebly het, het agterdogtig begin raak toe sy drasties agteruit begin gaan het.

“As ons daar kom, was sy deurmekaar en het in Engels gesê ons moet haar nie slaan nie, sy sal nie weer haar bed natmaak nie,” het haar vriendin gesê.

Sy vermoed hulle het die vrou geslaan omdat sy die eerste aand dat sy by haar vriendin geslaap het, nagmerries gekry en geskree het: “Moenie my slaan nie.”

Die koerant het die uitvoerende hoof van Residentia, mnr. Joe Duvenage, vir kommentaar gevra en hy het gesê: “Die welwees van ons inwoners is vir ons baie belangrik en daarom word klagtes in ’n baie ernstige lig gesien en word deeglik ondersoek.”

Deur: Jana Oosthuizen/Ridgetimes

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