Broken X-ray machine at busy Northern KZN hospital sees emergency services being used as taxis

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health


Broken X-ray machine at busy Northern KZN hospital sees emergency services being used as taxis


The Democratic Alliance has been reliably informed that the X-ray machine at Madadeni Hospital has been broken for the last week, with no indication as to when it will be fixed, with the result that already over-burdened emergency services are now acting as a taxi service, transferring patients to another local facility some 30km away.

The situation is also impacting severely on trauma and casualty services at Madadeni, which is the only regional hospital that deals with major trauma and surgery including orthopaedic surgery.

The DA is appalled by this. It is also not clear why patients are being taken to the facility, a Community Health Centre (CHC), rather than to the Newcastle Hospital which is much closer.

The current lack of X-ray facilities also means that patients who are critically injured cannot be transported for X-rays until such time as they have been stabilized. Worse still, emergencies such as a Pneumothorax or Heamothorax (punctured lung causing air collection in the chest cavity and blood in the chest respectively) have to be clinically diagnosed and treated without confirmation. This is a massive challenge, not only for doctors but also for patients whose lives are placed at additional risk.

The situation is also affecting patients who require follow up X-rays after operations. In addition, those who require X-rays for other medical conditions are currently being turned away and told to come back without any dates being given.

The ongoing downward spiral of healthcare services in the province has proved that KZN’s people cannot rely on Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, to help them. This, along with the recent Office of Healthcare Standards Compliance (OHSC) Report regarding KZN’s massive number of dysfunctional healthcare facilities means that KZN Premier Willies Mchunu has no option but to take drastic action.

The DA will today write to the Premier to inform him of this dire situation and to implore him to ensure the restoration of this vital service. We will also write to KZN Health portfolio committee Chairperson, Dr Yusuf Bhamjhee, so that he is informed of the current situation.

The DA expects the Premier to instruct MEC Dhlomo to immediately arrange for this X-ray machine to be fixed. We also expect him to tell the MEC that patients must be referred to Newcastle regional hospital for X-rays and not sent to a local CHC.

The citizens of our province should not have to tolerate an uncaring ANC government any longer. It is precisely due to their inaction that so many are suffering and dying unnecessarily.

KZN needs change led by a DA government that ensures a working healthcare systems that that treats the poor with dignity.

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