Msizi Mkhize, 28, was walking home with a friend when he was hit in Kwa-Mashu, a township north of the coastal city of Durban, last week. He was declared dead at the scene of the accident then his body was transported to the Phoenix mortuary, where his body was placed in a fridge.
Imran Keeka, a provincial official for the opposition Democratic Alliance party, said Tuesday:
“When his family arrived for identification purposes a pulse was found in the patient by mortuary staff, who then immediately transported him to Mahatma Gandhi hospital for resuscitation,”
Msizi was resuscitated by nurses and his family was informed of his resuscitation. However, five hours later, Msizi unfortunately died. Understandably, his irate family are now demanding answers.
His Dad Peter Mkhize said:
“I have no words to express how I feel about what happened to my child. “To spend the entire night and morning in the mortuary refrigerator is wrong.”
The distraught dad described the rollercoaster of emotions that began with him arriving at the morgue at 8am to identify his son’s body and was informed some four hours later that his son was in fact alive – only for him to once again be declared dead five hours after that.
“That day will forever be etched in my mind.” And Msizi’s sister Hlobisile demanded to know who originally declared her brother dead, describing the entire ordeal as “painful and stressful for the family”.
Keeka said the incident indicated the extent of the problems facing the province’s health department saying:
“What we want to know is what level of training did the staff have who declared him dead? What were the protocols?”
Dr Rishigen Viranna, a GP, said:
“There is a concept in emergency medicine care known as the ‘Golden Hour’, where after trauma a patient has the best chance of good outcome if hospital or medical treatment is received within the first hour. “This did not occur in this case. However, the true cause of death will be determined after a post-mortem has been completed.”
The South African health department has begun an inquiry into what actually took place at the scene of the accident.