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DENOSA Limpopo response to today’s malicious article in Sowetan blaming nurses of negligence  

Media statement   

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Limpopo, with great reluctance, would like to set the records straight on the report in today’s Sowetan in which nurses are blamed to have turned a pregnant woman away which, according to the report, resulted in the patient giving birth outside Marulaneng Clinic. 

The paper published a story today about an incident that took place on Tuesday at Marulaneng Clinic, in which it reported that a pregnant woman was on her way home from town and felt stomach pains. She got off at the clinic, and was turned away by security and told to go home a kilometer away to fetch her file card. Upon her return at around 5 pm she was told by security that nurses had knocked off. It is reported that she remained outside the facility waiting for an ambulance until she delivered at around 9pm.  

As an organisation for nurses, DENOSA would not like to appear as a defender of nurses even in instances where they have been on the wrong, but it is equally unfair to blame nurses on incidents that they were not responsible for. 

The front page of the Sowetan, titled “Nurses turn away mom and she gives birth prematurely outside clinic while waiting for an ambulance”, is malicious towards nurses because the article inside the paper states otherwise, that she was turned away by security at the gates. Without sounding pompous, but it is the reality that nurses are not security and the uniforms of the two workers are clearly distinct. This article is inciting community members and nurses at the clinic, in an area that has had violent confrontation towards nurses before. 

Upon hearing of the incident, DENOSA sent its representatives to the clinic yesterday to find out what had happened. The Department of Health in the province was also present during this fact-finding mission. The following are the facts about what happened with the incident from the nurses’ perspective, and records are there to prove this:

-          Nurses were called at night from their residences by security personnel informing them of an emergency at the gates where a woman was about to go on labour; 

-          The clinic operates from 08h00 to 16h30 pm and nurses attend to emergencies even when they are at home; and DENOSA had sent a letter to the Department two weeks ago querying about the status of implementing 24-hour services in clinics that are still operating for eight hours; 

-          Upon being informed of the emergency by security, the nurses picked up the pregnancy pack and rushed to the gate where the patient was;

-           Nurses realized the patient had progressed and that the baby was well on the way, and they assisted the woman; 

-          Nurses established, upon assessing the weight of the baby, that the pregnancy was a pre-term (meaning the pregnancy was less than 30 weeks) and complications of this were explained to the patient;

With these few facts, which are also known to the Department of Health in the province, DENOSA finds it discomforting that nurses must be blamed for a problem that they have not done anything to contribute to it, to a point where Sowetan’s editorial today calls for Health MEC in the province, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, to “fire these rogue health staff”.  

Unless Sowetan still sticks to its front-page headline that nurses turned away the patient, DENOSA expects a correction from the paper over this, because nurses are getting blamed and insulted in the social networks comments over this story. Unless this is what the paper’s objective was when it printed this misleading front-page headline. 

End   

Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Limpopo

Contact Cornwell Khoza, DENOSA Limpopo Provincial Secretary

Mobile: 072 576 4979  

Or 

Lesiba Monyaki, DENOSA Limpopo Chairperson

Mobile: 072 578 2753