KwaZulu-Natal man who was declared dead at hospital is found alive

A family from Savannah Park in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, have discovered that their family member, who was declared dead by St Mary’s Hospital in Mariannhill, is alive.

According to Thulisile Khumalo, her brother, Mfanafuthi Khumalo, was admitted to hospital in early December after complaining about a headache and was discharged on 24 December.

When Mfananfuthi appeared not to be getting better, they decided to take him back on the day after Christmas.

Speaking to DRUM, Thulisile elaborates on how she received the news and how they made the discovery that her “dead” brother was indeed still alive.

“I was called by the hospital on 2 January, and the person on the phone asked how I was related to Mfanafuthi Khumalo?, I then told them that he is my brother.”

Thulisile said she was told to come to the hospital with her brother’s identity document as he had passed away earlier that morning.

She then had an emotional breakdown. Her brother was the family’s breadwinner.

“My neighbours came to my house and I then called his manager and he rushed to take me to the hospital.”

They then arrived at the hospital and were told to sit in a waiting room so that Thulisile could sign some forms and identify her brother’s body.

For some reason, Thulisile was in so much disbelieve that she decided to go check herself that indeed her brother had passed away. Upon arrival she found him on his bed in his ward.

“I could not believe it, my brother just looked at me, smiled and asked why I was there so early in the morning.

“I was in so much disbelieve and also shocked to a point where I went outside to call the people I was with and also asked the nurses what was going on.

“We were then called to the matron’s office and we were told that they made a mistake and that his file must have been swopped with another man who passed away.

“What really puzzles me is that the doctor had already signed a form to certify his death without double-checking whether it was the correct person.”

Thulisile said the hospital promised her counselling for all the trauma that she had endured but they have still not contacted her.

“They discharged my brother two days after the incident and even today he is still sick, and I have to take care of him from home.

“I would really appreciate if I could get all the help that I can get because I don’t know the procedures one has to take for one to report to the department of health.”

KZN health department spokesperson Noluthando Nkosi said in a statement that the department would like to apologise for an error that resulted in a family being wrongfully informed that their loved one had demised, when this was not the case.

“Management of the hospital held a meeting with relatives of the patient, and the patient himself, where an apology was tendered and accepted.

“Hospital staff were subsequently addressed and urged to ensure that an incident of this nature does not recur.”