Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital (NCBMH) management issued a statement today [March 22] in which they say that allegations of refusal to treat a patient that tested positive for COVID-19 are untrue.
“At no stage were people in need of emergency medical assistance, including COVID-19 positive cases, refused care at our hospital’s emergency department, and we sincerely apologise to the couple who were kept waiting for further advisement, for any inconvenience and anxiety that this has caused them,” says NCBMH general manager, Chris Tilney.
A 71-year old woman reportedly sought admittance at the hospital on Tuesday March 17 according to GroundUp, but was denied “as they lack the isolation or quarantine facilities needed to deal with Covid-19”. Instead, they recommended that Sheila go to Tygerberg Hospital.
NCBMH has since issued a statement saying this is not so.
“A misunderstanding may have arisen when the independent doctor who is responsible for the running of the emergency department, quite correctly, and in accordance with the protocols regarding our response to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, requested the couple to wait while he consulted with clinical colleagues,” Tilney said. “Since this was not an emergency admission the doctor involved was confirming protocols and clinical and collegial support to ensure that all safety measures were in place to ensure the safety of staff and other patients, before accepting the patient. During this time the doctor at NCBMH remained in discussion with the Department of Health representative and advised that NCBMH was ready and awaiting the patient. The DoH representative advised that Groote Schuur Hospital’s clinical team had agreed that they could also assist and that the choice of facility should be left to the patient.”
“We wish to assure the public that NCBMH is fully prepared to accept COVID-19 patients with the necessary dedicated, appropriate facilities and trained staff in managing COVID-19 patients safely, should they require admission. We have implemented all necessary precautionary measures in close consultation with the DoH and National Institute of Communicable Diseases as part of the national response to the unfolding COVID-19 outbreak,” he added.
“We extend our best wishes to the patient and trust that she will recover fully and speedily,” Tilney concluded.