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NW doctor cleared of blame following patient's COVID-19 related death

The North West Health Department said it had studied reports relating to the treatment of the patient and found no negligent behaviour on the part of the cardiologist who treated the patient.

Picture: 123rf.com

BRITS, North West – The North West Department of Health said that the doctor who treated the only patient who died from COVID-19 related complications did nothing wrong and has condemned any perception that he was to blame.

The 52-year-old man died at the Job Shimankana Tabane (JST) Hospital in Rustenburg earlier this month.

The North West has 72 known cases and Rustenburg is the epicentre with 23 cases.

Last week, Health MEC Madoda Sambatha visited the Netcare Ferncrest Hospital where two nurses tested positive for the coronavirus after being in contact with the deceased patient. Staff from the Ferncrest, Brits and JST hospitals, where the patient had been treated, had to be isolated at different locations for 14 days.

The department said that it had studied reports relating to the treatment of the patient and found no negligent behaviour on the part of the cardiologist and other staff who treated the patient.

Sambatha said that doctors at the forefront of the battle against the global pandemic need to be supported and not blamed.

“While we will not hesitate to hold anyone accountable where there is mismanagement of patients, it is equally important to not play the blame game in this fight against COVID-19. All our health professionals including doctors need our support in their daily management of COVID-19 cases. It is also important for the public and the media not to speculate on cases as it causes unnecessary public panic.”

It had been reported that the doctor in question had been suspended but had since returned to work after he had also isolated for a period of 14 days.

The department further stated that the MEC himself had not blamed the doctor for the province’s only COVID-19 death in any of his interviews with the media, as some had implied.

Meanwhile, Sambatha welcomed 13 Cuban doctors to the North West at the weekend. Six of the doctors will be stationed in Bojanala district, which has the bulk of the provinces COVID-19 infections with 40 known cases.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.