Microbiological facepalm

The Health Ombudsman today released his report into complaints about the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital (RMMCH). It doesn’t make for pretty reading. There are many, many problems highlighted, and I’m only really looking at one here, but if you want to read the whole damn(ing) thing, here’s the PDF.

It’s Page 14 that made me weep though.


They ran out of the antiseptic disinfectant solution that was used to treat the skin pre-operatively on abdominal surgery sites, so instead of sourcing some from any nearby healthcare facilities, the sister in charge made up her own concoction of diluted handwash to use instead.

Not that this is any way safe, effective, legitimate, ethical, acceptable or sensible, but – just out of interest – what sort of amounts of handwash and water did she use?

The quantities of each used could not be explained by Sr. T Goduka, except that she said, “I ensured there was not much foam.” [sic]

Ah yes, “not much foam”. That’s the generally accepted formula for illegitimate, homebrewed pre-op solutions. Too much foam gets in the way and can be quite distracting for the surgeon. That’s why they don’t use Sunlight washing up liquid for these sort of things.

Or diluted handwash.

Anyway, the upshot of Sister Goduka’s efforts was that eleven patients ended up back in surgery because they developed infections.

I am shocked like Cyril.

The report goes on to say:

When patients present at the hospital, they do that because they are assured of safe care because all resources used undergo rigorous scientific testing and scrutiny.

Oh, so not because they want to be guinea pigs for Sr Goduka’s latest potion? Honestly, there would probably have been a better clinical outcome if they’d let Willy Wonka have a pop at it.

Incredibly – and shamefully – this is far from the worst thing that patients had to face at the hospital, but hopefully, some lessons can be – and have been – learned.

So… until next time (which won’t be long)…