UPDATE: ROB CRISIS – Bodies rot, total chaos

The decomposing body found on Tuesday at Rob Ferreira Hospital.

MBOMBELA – Rob Ferreira Hospital is on the brink of collapse. This was evident by the stench of a decomposing body in the corridors on the third floor of the hospital. It had reportedly been lying there for four days.

Striking cleaners, porters and nursing personnel are crippling service delivery with their deliberate acts of sabotage.

Mpumalanga News visited the hospital yesterday and what it found there, was absolutely horrendous. Driving through the gates, it looked like a dumping site with heaps of rubbish lying everywhere.

The strikers, most of them members of the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) were seated in groups outside, chatting, laughing and chanting. Several police officials were deployed to keep an eye on them.

The hospital itself is a health hazard, with food and other rubbish scattered everywhere. Strikers opened taps and flooded various floors. Doctors and injured patients had to tiptoe through the puddles, careful not to slip and fall or step on food.

The newspaper received reports of decomposing bodies in wards throughout the hospital. This journalist went to the third floor and was met by a terrible stench. Thinking it was rotting food at first, she unsuspectingly opened a door next to the lifts and stumbled across a body.

The smell was overwhelming and an informed source told the newspaper that it had been lying there for four days already. It was merely covered with a sheet, and flies were hovering everywhere. Puss and blood were dripping from it.

An informed source who works at the hospital, explained that it was the duty of porters to take bodies to the mortuary. “They are now obviously striking, so dead bodies are not being taken to the mortuary as often as they should.”

In addition, only emergency surgeries were being performed at the hospital since there was very little clean linen available. The backlog in elective surgeries, including several orthopaedic cases, is consequently increasing by the day.

It all started on Friday when the strikers closed all entrances and exits to and from the hospital and even prevented ambulances from bringing in patients who required emergency care.

Their demands included uniforms, cleaning aids, computers, medication and compensation for overtime worked, among other things. On Monday, all hell broke loose as they emptied trash cans and set the contents alight.

Again all gates to the hospital were closed and a psychiatrist, Dr Leif Brauteseth, was injured when he attempted to move a log which the strikers had placed in front of the gate. Some of the protesters tried to prevent him from doing so and he lost his balance and fell.

He sustained a big laceration to the head and had to receive seven stitches. He called the protesters ignorant, saying that the blame was to be placed at the door of corrupt suppliers.

“I completely agree with the reasons behind the strike, it’s just a pity that they are too ignorant to know what they are striking about.” Mr Cyril Chuene, an EFF ward representative, received several phone calls from concerned family members of patients at the hospital.

He escorted the family member of a deceased to the ward where the deceased’s dead body had been lying. He consequently went to the CEO of Rob Ferreira, Ms Gladys Coete, demanding answers. “The hospital manager, Mr Mnisi, denied that there was a crisis.

Coete said she wasn’t going to interfere as the strike was of a political nature. She then continued playing games on her cellphone,” Chuene remarked. “Even I know this is not a political matter. It is because of serious mismanagement and maladministration.

We need serious intervention,” Chuene added. ““The department had earlier promised to procure and make the uniforms available before the end of October. However, there was a delay in the procurement processes because the team that was tasked to handle it, was changed as part of supply chain’s staff rotation,” spokesman for the Provincial Department of Health, Mr Dumisani Malamule, said.

He added that when another team took over they discovered some discrepancies in the above processes and it had to start afresh. This again caused a delay. “The department has moved with speed to finalise the processes which are now waiting for final approval.

Once this is done, a service provider will be appointed to work on the uniforms.”

11:26 – November 12,  2014

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO FOOTAGE: Decomposing body at Robs as strike continues

Mpumalanga News went to the hospital after receiving numerous phone calls of concerned people who have family members admitted there. What the newspaper found, is horrific.

View the video here: 

 The strikers – comprising of cleaners, porters and some nursing staff – have opened taps throughout the hospital, flooding the floors. Rubbish, including rotten food, has been scattered everywhere. Doctors and patients have to tip toe to avoid slipping and falling.

The newspaper was greeted by an unbearable stench on the third floor and found a dead body decomposing in a small room next to the lifts. Flies were hovering above it, with pus and blood oozing onto the floor. A source inside the hospital explained that porters have to take corpses to the mortuary and since they are striking, this obviously isn’t being done.

Several police officials have been deployed at the hospital to keep an eye on the situation as the strike turned violent on Monday afternoon. Strikers barricaded all entrances to the hospital and set rubbish and branches on fire. Dr Leif Brauteseth, a psychiatrist, was injured when he tried to remove a pole in front of the gate.

Strikers tried to prevent him from doing so during which Brauteseth lost his balance and fell.

The strikers demand new uniforms, cleaning material and compensation for overtime worked, amongst others.

EFF ward representative Mr Cyril Chuene was also at the hospital, demanding answers from both the CEO and hospital manager, who both denied that there was a crisis and called the strike “political”.

Follow up the updates which document the escalation of this health crisis here.

Lowveld Media digital team

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