Shonisani Lethole’s death could’ve been prevented - Makgoba

Lethole died days after he was admitted to the facility in July last year with breathing difficulties.

FILE: Shonisani Lethole. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - A report by Health Ombudsman Professor Malekgapuru Makgoba has found that the death of Shonisani Lethole at Tembisa Hospital was avoidable and preventable.

Lethole died days after he was admitted to the facility in July last year with breathing difficulties.

READ: Shonisani Lethole wasn't fed for 100 hours, neglected at hospital - report

His positive COVID-19 test results only came after his death.

Makgoba released his findings earlier on Wednesday following a request by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

WATCH: ‘Lethole was denied food for 100 hours and 54 minutes’ – says Health Ombud

In a shocking revelation, Makgoba said the hospital staff gave inconsistent testimonies about the circumstances that led to Lethole’s death.

Makgoba found that his medical records were appalling and defective.

The professor said hospital management withheld some information and even lied about the date of Lethole's death.

“He died on the 29th and there were no doctor’s notes on the 30th because he was certified dead on the 30th. When you certify a patient [dead], you have to examine that patient, you have to put it in the clinical records and that’s why the date of the 30th was there and there were no notes available.”

The ombudsman also found that Tembisa Hospital was not fit or even ready to deal with COVID-19 admissions.

Makgoba’s recommendations include a disciplinary independent audit process into the competency of the hospital leadership and management.


Makgoba has recommended that 19 staffers at Tembisa Hospital - including doctors and nurses - face disciplinary action for their role in Lethole's treatment.

His report has found that Lethole’s blood tests and results were not properly recorded by hospital staff - until closer to his death.

This made it difficult to follow the admission process and track his medical progress due to inconsistencies.

The professor has recommended Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi take serious measures against Tembisa Hospital.

“We also believe that the Gauteng Department of Health should undertake disciplinary processes against 19 staff members that you can characterise as medical doctors, people that ae in charge of food, and the nursing staff.”

Meanwhile, the Gauteng Department of Health has welcomed Makgoba's report into the circumstances surrounding Lethole’s death.

The department’s spokesperson Kwara Kekana said they would study the full report to better understand its findings.

“We remain committed to implementing the recommendations of the report within the prescripts of the law. The department will also use the report to help improve the patient experience and provide dignified, quality services in our facilities.”

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