Two KwaZulu-Natal nurses who allegedly turned away a pregnant woman, who was forced to give birth in a minibus taxi, have been suspended.
Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu welcomed the suspension of the nurses from Buxedene Clinic near Nongoma, in the north of the province.
They stand accused of failing to assist the mother, who was brought in by taxi driver Nhlonipho Zulu minutes before going into labour.
The mother subsequently gave birth to a baby boy in the minibus taxi, on the side of the road, with the assistance of the driver who had initially rushed her to the clinic.
The nurses have been accused of not only denying that the young woman was about to go into labour, but of being dismissive and using rude language, and also refusing to call an ambulance.
Simelane-Zulu said she hoped the suspension would send a strong message to health care practitioners.
“We welcome the decision by the department’s administration to suspend these nurses. This will enable the investigation to take place without hindrance.
“Without pronouncing on the innocence or guilt of the accused, we hope that this swift and decisive action will send a strong message. We want all health care professionals who are planning to mistreat patients to be clear that they will not get away with it.
“Patients, just like health care workers, have rights which must be protected, respected and upheld at all times. If you misbehave, there will be consequences,” she said.