The Gauteng health department breaks down the cause of negligent deaths at their hospitals. But it turns out that majority of the more 1 000 negligent deaths are due to clinical processes and procedures.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) issued a statement on Wednesday lambasting the provincial department for causing the death of 1 954 patients. These deaths are due to Severe Adverse Events (SAE), meaning something was committed or omitted and the patient did not die from their underlying ailment.
Spokesperson Motaletale Modiba said the SAEs, which the department refers to as patient safety incidents (PSI), are classified into five categories.
But the main contributing factor to the deaths is clinical processes or procedures. This has led to 1 316 negligent deaths.
The second largest cause is not categorised. This means the cause of 559 deaths is listed as “others”.
27 deaths are due to behavioural factors by the patient. 26 deaths are due to falls and 14 are due to healthcare-associated infections, Modiba explained.
Nine deaths are caused by medication, two by medical devices or equipment and one death is caused by infrastructure.
Modiba confirms that where errors are made in the province’s hospitals or clinics, such cases are reported immediately. Recourse measures are put in place to correct them.
These include training in various areas and support visits from the Central Office.
“We are also part of the global community that is entrusted with patient safety awareness with heightened campaigns taking place in November annually.”
But out of the 1 954 negligent deaths, 28 cases are referred for a disciplinary hearing. A total of 6 910 incidents of negligence have been recorded in 2021 but 13 cases have been referred for litigation. 31 are in the mediation process.
“Where staff has been found to be negligent, corrective interventions are implemented as well. It is important to state that PSIs are a universal challenge, which health professionals across the world grapple with in their day-to-day work.”