Following the recent video that went viral of a 52-year-old Chatsworth resident being found at the RK Khan Hospital by his family with live maggots crawling out of his mouth, the hospital board members have called for an immediate investigation.
It was confirmed that the patient was admitted to the hospital in a serious condition and was placed in a high care ward. The son alerted the nursing staff to the live maggots that were seen crawling under the upper lip of the patient.
The family was left traumatised after the incident. The repeated trauma of witnessing the dire state of his father while in hospital with maggots in his mouth, has left the son of the late Sadick Ebrahim needing counselling and seeking legal action against the RK Hospital and the Department of Health.
Azaad Ebrahim, who highlighted his father’s plight and the “neglect” he faced while at the hospital in the viral video, said that he can never erase the images from his mind. Ebrahim senior, 52, passed away in hospital.
“I can’t get that image out my head. Everytime I close my eyes, even to pray, that is all I see. He was neglected by the very people that were meant to help him. It really hurts. We have been left traumatised,” said a heartbroken Ebrahim.
“I informed the nurse and asked for assistance in cleaning my father’s upper lip but they did nothing. This all happened in the morning and in afternoon the maggots were still there.
On asking them to help the nurses and sisters were giving me toilet paper and stuff to clean my dad by myself. This was pure negligence and unethical. I still can’t come to terms with what happened to my father and for them to suggest that we, his family, had neglected his care is ridiculous,” he said.
On Monday, community members forced their way into a meeting at the hospital between KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelani and the hospital’s management. The activists demanded “urgent intervention” into the crisis facing the hospital. In the statement issued, the board’s chairperson, Rev Cyril Pillay said that the hospital was a 534 bed facility catering to the medical and surgical needs of the local and surrounding areas.
“With multiple admissions, discharges, major surgical procedures, births, cardiac and diabetic management and quality auxiliary medical care on a daily basis, this single incident should not have happened,” said Pillay. “I want to personally apologise to the family for the maggot infestation. This should not have happened in our institution, which is one of the busiest and most productive hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal. We call for an independent investigation to reveal the truth of this sad incident and if heads must roll, so be it. I sympathise with the bereaved family and seek justice for them also. I support their endeavours to get to the bottom of this.”
Chatsworth community leaders Visvin Reddy, Dr Paul Lutchman, Salim Adam, Logan Chetty, Vic Pillay, Thulkana Palan and Sagren Naidoo stormed into the meeting between theMEC and the hospital board. Reddy said: “The board has failed the community by not being proactive and representing the best interests of the community. RK Khan is understaffed and as a result, is a death trap for patients. This is a state hospital and serves the most vulnerable people in our community. Why do they have to go to a hospital to die? It is unacceptable and the board must take full responsibility for this.” He said that the staff at RK Khan worked under tremendous pressure because they end up doing the work of where posts are vacant.
“If this board is not removed and replaced with competent and representative community members, we will have no alternative but to form another one working parallel to this ineffective and unknown bunch of cadres masquerading as a board,” said Reddy.
“This situation is not unique to RK Khan but is common in all state hospitals. We will be calling for rolling mass action and speaking to government in the only language they understand which is protests,” he said.