Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital trauma cases triple as riots, looting rage on

Like many health facilities around the province, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital was hoping to see a reduction in trauma cases and free some much-needed bed space with the extension of level 4 lockdown. But things have gotten worse thanks to the events of the past few days.

Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital entrance. Picture: Louise McAuliffe/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The impact of the recent violent events was having a devastating knock-on effect on health facilities, with the biggest hospital in the country, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital reporting at least 84 patients with gunshot wounds in its last reporting cycle.

Hospital CEO Nkele Lesia has confirmed to Eyewitness News that at the last count, they were dealing with 180 trauma cases - triple their average.

Just outside the academic hospital in Diepkloof on Monday, a mob of looters ransacked businesses, one of them a liquor store owned by a popular chain.

Like many health facilities around the province, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital was hoping to see a reduction in trauma cases and free some much-needed bed space with the extension of level 4 lockdown.

But things have gotten worse thanks to events of the past few days, as CEO Lesia explains: "Before the protest started, on average, we were seeing about 60 patients in a 24-hour period. But since the protests started, the number has tripled."

The pattern of injuries has also been worrying.

"This morning at 7am, the 24-hour trauma stats indicated 180 cases, of which 84 were gunshot wounds," Lesia said.

Because of the huge pressure on the hospital's trauma units, officials have had to temporarily divert ambulances to prioritise serious cases and work through the increasing load.

The numbers that the facility provided on Tuesday were likely to increase as they were tallied earlier in the morning.

Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital was already working under severe strain, with COVID-19 third wave cases and also accommodating extra patients from other facilities such as Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.

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