It’s a story that’s heart-wrenching and stomach churning in equal measure, and it perhaps goes without saying that this article contains some graphic details. The DA has been compelled to act after they got wind of the macabre standards of healthcare at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg.
“Inhumane” conditions for workers at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital
Jack Bloom is the Shadow Health MEC for Gauteng. He was mortified when a whistleblower relayed her story to him, claiming to have found amputated limbs, abandoned babies, and dead foetuses in their laundry baskets. The claims are shocking, but Bloom is also incandescent with the hospital’s reaction to the matter:
“Workers at the laundry have complained for a long time about the stress of finding fetuses and body parts in the linen which is taken from wards and sent down a chute to the laundry.”
“Last week I wrote to the hospital CEO Gladys Bogoshi about the problem, including two horrific photos taken by workers – one was a fully formed baby, and the other a foetus covered in blood, but I did not receive a reply. The hospital management has since, inexcusably, failed to act.”
CEO makes unfazed response
Bogoshi has since admitted that body parts and other grotesque items “end up as laundry” when the waste is carried away. She tried to mitigate the circumstances and reasoned that all incidents are logged and reported. But very little is reported to be in place to stop this from happening again.
Earlier in the week, one of the anonymous whistleblowers also took their grievances to The South African Health News Service (Health-e). They revealed the sheer horror that confronts them when they arrive at work:
“I have been working here for several years and we are never sure what we will find when we report for duty in what is called the ‘dirty’ section of the laundry. I have found dead babies and even babies who are still breathing wrapped up in bed linen.”
A worker from Charlotte Maxeke
What next for Charlotte Maxeke?
It’s understood that the cleaners have to handle laundry that is piped down a metal shoot from various wards across the facility, which lands straight on the hard concrete floor. They are left to deal with biohazardous waste, as well as the grim human remains that have been wrapped up in sheets.
Bloom has urged the Gauteng Health Department to take “urgent measures” against Charlotte Maxeke, to minimise the risk of trauma and infection raised by the unsanitary working conditions for the employees. Despite what their CEO has admitted, a hospital spokesperson has now labelled these allegations as “unfounded”:
“In response to allegations that dead babies, limbs and foetuses have been found at the laundry room at Charlotte Maxeke I wish to indicate these are unfounded allegations. I must indicate that the last incident we heard of any foetus was discovered in 2017 and we have never received any reports of limbs or foetuses discovered at the linen room.”
Charlotte Maxeke Hospital Spokesperson