Statement to provide clarity, following the passing of a patient who was allegedly left behind by paramedics in Umlazi Township

09 July 2023

Without prejudice, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health would like to pass its sincere condolences to the Sikhosana family, who have lost their loved one at one of our hospitals, where she had been receiving care for almost two weeks.

The patient in question was allegedly left at home by paramedics in Umlazi, following an altercation between the paramedics and her family over the handling of the patient from the house to the ambulance.

In the ensuing argument, the paramedics reportedly left the scene without the patient. It is unfortunate that the family had to privately transport the patient to the nearest clinic, where she was subsequently taken by a state ambulance to hospital, where she was attended by the requisite competent healthcare professionals.

After being notified about the incident, the department immediately suspended the two Paramedics implicated in the matter, so as to obtain statements from all sides, including the family, and thus be able to conduct a thorough investigation.

In fact, two departmental officials tried to engage with the Sikhosana family on the following day for redress purposes, but were unfortunately met with a high level of arrogance and lack of co-operation.

This was followed by a sudden change of the initial statement by the patient's sister, who stormed the hospital accompanied by a group of members from a known political party, which exacerbated the lack of co-operation from the family's side.

Attempts to further engage with the family proved futile due to the lack of co-operation from one member of the family.

It is unfortunate that the family member is alleging that she was not contacted by the department, whereas there is ample evidence to the contrary.

The department is in possession of an exchange of communication between one of its officials and the family member, where she blatantly refuses to engage with anyone from the department.

In some media houses, the family member mentions that MEC requested her contact details on social media and never heard from the department ever since. This statement is not true because after the MEC engaged her on social media for her contacts, the Department contacted her, and as a result, the Patient was moved by the department from the clinic to our higher institution of care or hospital.

It is critical to note that the department has followed correct processes in this matter, which entailed the immediate transfer of the patient to a higher level of care; and to suspend the two paramedics implicated in this matter in order to allow for the investigation to continue unhindered.

A reasonable amount of time is required to conduct and conclude an investigation of this nature. The family is requested to co-operate with the investigation, so that this process may not be jeopardised.

Issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health

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This page last edited on 10 July, 2023

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