The KwaZulu-Natal health department is investigating allegations by the family of an 81-year-old woman that she died after being told to drink a medicine meant for external use. The family, from eMahlabathini in Ulundi in northern KZN, blame the eNkonjeni Hospital in the area.

The deceased’s granddaughter, Ntuthuko Ntombela, says the hospital gave a wrong prescription for the elderly woman.

“Gogo was given a betadine solution which she is supposed to be using to bath with in order to heal her sores, but the instruction she was given was that she had to drink it three times a day. Her situation worsened after drinking the medication for close to two weeks; she started having complications, she couldn’t drink, and she went back to the hospital to say she could not even swallow her saliva. That is when she was informed and given the very same medication with different instruction to say; no gogo, you are not supposed to be drinking this medication, this medication is supposed to be used to bath your sores.”

The provincial health department’s Agiza Hlongwane says that the information that they received is different to that of the deceased’s family.

“The facts at my disposal are contrary to that. It has been indicated as soon as the hospital management was made aware, a doctor and a pharmacy manager were dispatched to the family to see the patient and conducted an inspection and made recommendations and eventually the patient ended up in hospital and was under the care of health professionals. Further to that, an investigating officer was appointed and investigation instituted and it is still underway.”