May 16, 2021

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FH Odendaal hospital: Health department nearly causes a scene on Twitter

2 min read
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Two people died in a fire that broke out at FH Odendaal hospital in Modimolle, Limpopo in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The fire allegedly started in a COVID-19 ward, which was completely destroyed. Nurses managed to evacuate all the ward’s patients, except for the two deceased – one of which was a 61-year-old inmate from a nearby correctional facility.

An investigation into the cause of the tragic fire is underway. The Department of Health took to Twitter to express their condolences and nearly caused a scene on the social media platform because of the method used to convey the message.

DoH CRITICISED FOR WHATSAPP GAFFE

In a tweet, the Department of Health said it was deeply saddened to learn that two patients died in a fire at the FH Odendaal Hospital COVID-19 Ward. “We convey our sincerest condolences to the families who have suffered this devastating loss,” read the rest of the tweet. It was signed with Minster of Health Dr Zweli Mhize’s name.

Social media users were offended by the Health Department’s tweet because the Minister’s statement was presented as WhatsApp screenshot. The Department regularly issues statements via Twitter but they are usually digital letterheads.

The tweet was deleted after a few minutes but the dozens of users who saw it were unimpressed and felt that a screenshot was an inappropriate way to mourn the death of two people.

“No ways you guys posted a WhatsApp message to commemorate 2 dead people,” said one person.

“A WhatsApp screenshot? I’m actually flabbergasted.”

“Yoh. A WhatsApp message. To apologise for something caused by the horrid state of our hospitals that don’t have fire protections in place. brah. brah. yoh. brah. yoh,” commented another stunned user.

“Come on. Who is the communications person at [the department] to post a WhatsApp message to commemorate the passing of 2 people,” questioned a user, who also mentioned the Minister on Twitter.

Come on.
Who is the communications person at @HealthZA to post a whatsapp message to commemorate the passing of 2 people? @DrZweliMkhize https://t.co/KU84rfWGYg

— Waseefa (@Cfa89) May 4, 2021

MKHIZE COMMENDS HEROIC FH ODENDAAL NURSES

In the “WhatsApp” statement, the Minister of Health offered his condolences to the families of the deceased and commended the nurses who “extinguished the fire” and rescued the patients inside.

“We share in your pain in having experienced the loss of two patients but we also pay homage to your heroism as you kept your oath and protected your patients,” said Mkhize

Mkhize also welcomed the investigation into how the fire started and encouraged the parties involved to get to the bottom of the incident speedily.

FH Odendaal is the third hospital to catch fire in recent weeks. Charlotte Maxeke Academic and Caledon Hospital were both affected not too long ago.

Screenshot statement saved from Twitter