5 Eastern Cape nurses suspended following COVID-19 patient’s death

SABC News writes that the Eastern Cape Health Department has suspended five nurses at Glen Grey Hospital in King Williamstown for allegedly being linked to the death of a patient. It is alleged that they refused to attend to a patient that was suspected to be infected with the coronavirus, because they had insufficient personal protective equipment. The department’s spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo, says they were suspended to allow for an internal investigation. Kupelo says, “The issue of PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) was addressed. We have been going to this hospital. The MEC was there, the leadership of the department was there to deal with the same issue and across we have been getting these concerns around PPEs. We maintain our position that we do have enough PPEs. We are obligated as government to ensure nurses and all frontline workers have appropriate protection, but we cannot handle ourselves in this manner that end up compromising the lives of our people.”

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) says it is opposed to the suspension of its members. Denosa’s shopsteward, Malusi Nyembezi, says the department is not complying with the stipulated PPE regulations. “We cannot accept that the department continues to go on threatening, and even going to the extent of suspending nurses when they refuse to go barehanded to render a particular service. We demand that the government must take into its responsibility that they provide full protective equipment to the nurses as mandated by the national guidelines and comply with the national guidelines as to what should be happening when there is a deceased patient in the unit and when there is a COVID positive patient in the unit.”

by Busisiwe Jemsana-Mantashe