Senior managers at Mahikeng hospital are in hot water after a decomposed body was found inside dysfunctional fridge.

North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha is outraged and promises to leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of an adverse event and a case of negligence that ended with a decomposed body at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital.

The body in question is of a 60-year-old female who was seen at casually on the 6 September 2020 as a referral from Thusong Hospital. The deceased was admitted for hypertensive emergency and suspected cardiovascular accident. CT scan was done and the patient referred to Klerksdorp – Tshepong Hospital. The patient was operated in Klerksdorp to remove a tumor.

The patient was admitted back at Mahikeng Hospital surgical Department but unfortunately died, on 25 October 2020. The body was stored in the hospital mortuary.

When the family came to collect the body on 27 October, they discovered that it was decomposed and refused to take it.

The preliminary investigation revealed that the body got decomposed because it was placed inside a dysfunctional fridge drawer by the porter on the night of 25 October.

The family lodged a formal complaint. The hospital accepted responsibility for the incident and redress which included counseling was done. The family further requested a written apology from the hospital management before they could collect the body, which was done.

The implicated official has been placed on precautionary suspension.

Health MEC Madoda Sambatha has described the incident as irresponsible. He visited the family yesterday and assured them that the Department will get to the bottom of the incident.

Following MEC’s meeting with the family representatives, the Department will await feedback as they are still going to consult other elders of the family.

MEC Sambatha emphasized that the Department will enforce consequence management against officials involved. While one official, a porter who is directly involved has been suspended, a through investigation will reveal everyone involve and the nature of their transgression.

“We sympathize with the family and society at large because all procedures of handling corpses in mortuary we not followed, and even the fact that end up being decomposed in a mortuary indicates how work ethic and care for the deceased is lacking from mortuary staff and management,” said MEC Sambatha

The MEC is working closely with the family to ensure that the independent investigation is appointed who must reveal all weaknesses in the system and in the mortuary at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital.

“An investigation will get to the bottom of this unfortunate incident and everyone involved will be held accountable”, said MEC Sambatha

The MEC has extended gratitude to the family for the cordial manner in which they handled the meeting despite the fact that they are mourning and hurt by this unacceptable incident.

“I must say this incident indicate irresponsible behaviour on the part of officials involved. It points to lack of proper mortuary management. I know that the family is deeply hurt and disappointed on how the body of their loved one was handled and I send my sincere apologies and condolences to the family”, said MEC Madoda Sambatha