A 28-year-old man, Msizi Mkhize, was declared dead last week when he was hit while walking home with a friend in Durban. His body was transported to the Phoenix mortuary and refrigerated.
However, when his family members came two days later for identification and other things, he was noticed to have a pulse. He was then rushed to the Mahatma Gandhi hospital for resuscitation. He however was resuscitated but he died 5 hours after. His angry family are now demanding answers.
The victim's father 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 heartbroken father 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.”
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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”.
Imran Keeka, a provincial official for the opposition Democratic Alliance party, said the incident shows the challenges and decay facing the province’s health department. He said:
“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.