An investigation at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital has revealed that there was no authorised practice to dispose of limbs and dead foetuses in the linen room.
Lungiswa Mvumvu, hospital spokesperson, said Gauteng MEC for Health Dr Gwen Ramokgopa called for an investigation into the allegations following recent media reports.
Earlier on Thursday, DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom said in a statement that workers at the laundry had previously complained about the stress of finding foetuses and body parts in the linen, which is taken from wards and sent down a chute to the laundry.
Bloom said he wrote to the hospital CEO, Gladys Bogoshi, and included two horrific photos that workers had taken – one of a fully formed baby, and the other of a foetus covered in blood. Bloom did not receive a reply.
“The hospital management has inexcusably failed to act by tightening controls to ensure that medical waste is safely disposed of. Laundry workers work in terrible conditions and risk infection from medical waste that they are not meant to deal with,” Bloom said.
Mvumvu said the investigation found no evidence of these reports. The department has encouraged staff in the linen room to approach the management and the CEO if they have any concerns.
“We can, however, confirm that an incident of a dead foetus was reported in August 2017. A debriefing session was offered to all employees affected. A full investigation by different stakeholders was conducted and recommendations were implemented. Remedial action was taken against the staff member responsible for non-compliance and negligence,” Mvumvu said.
He added that the hospital has since reviewed and strengthened its protocols and procedures to “minimise the risk of non-compliance”.
“Infection and prevention control officers have implemented regular in-service training to enforce protocols and procedures. Hospital management commits to continue providing guidance and support to all employees to promote a safe and caring environment,” said Mvumvu.
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