The two nurses who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Netcare Ferncrest Hospital in Rustenburg, have been traced and linked to the first COVID-19 death case in the North West. According to North West Health MEC, Madoda Sambatha, the nurses contracted the deadly virus following negligence by a doctor in the hospital. “The patient had been tested at Brits and Job Shimankana Tabane Hospitals. He was later referred to Ferncrest Hospital for a cardiovascular operation. But because it was urgent for the patient to go in theatre for operation he was treated as a positive case for precautionary reasons,” said Sambatha.
However, Sambatha said that doctor who was treating the patient decided on his own to treat the patient as a non positive case. “Despite of his knowledge on the patient’s test results from Brits Hospital he decided to lower the precautionary measures for his treatment at Ferncrest Hospital. When the patient was moved to a lowered level ward in terms of PPE, the patient came in contact with 15 nurses, eight cleaners, three doctors and four other patients,” explained the MEC. According to Sambatha, the patient’s positive results only came back after he had been operated on and moved to another ward. The contacts have been traced and have been quarantined.
“All the contacts of this particular patient have been traced and tested and only two (the nurses) came back positive,” he said. He however highlighted that they tested positive on the basis of exposure to the patient and not because there was no personal protection equipment.

Action has been taken against the doctor by the department and Netcare group against the doctor. “All patients are treated as positive cases and what the doctor did, should not have been done. If there was never a decision taken to lower the level, the patient would have been treated as a positive case until he was out and this would have protected exposure to the nurses and everyone else who was exposed,” Sambatha said.

The patient died earlier this week and was buried in Maboloka.

Meanwhile, DENOSA’s regional chairperson in Bojanala, Neo Lehaha said the doctor had indeed made a terrible blunder. “The patient was supposed to have been treated as a PUI (person under investigation) all the precautionary measures were supposed to be followed” Lehaha said. He has urged all medical practitioners to treat all patients as a positive case to avoid such blunders from happening in the future.