South African crash victim found alive after two days in mortuary fridge when his stunned family came to ID him
Irate relatives are requesting answers after Msizi Mkhize, 28, tragically died five hours after being pulled from fridge in Durban
A MAN proclaimed dead after being hit by a car spent almost two days in a mortuary fridge in South Africa before staff discovered that he was still alive.
Msizi Mkhize, 28, was walking home with a friend when he was hit in Kwa-Mashu, a township north of the coastal city of Durban, last week.
He was announced dead at the scene of the accident before being taken to the Phoenix mortuary, where his figure was placed in a fridge.
“When his family arrived for identification purposes a pulse was found in the patient by mortuary staff, who then instantaneously transported him to Mahatma Gandhi hospital for resuscitation,” Imran Keeka, a provincial official for the opposition Democratic Alliance party, said yesterday.
Msizi was resuscitated by nurses – but tragically died five hours later.
His irate family are now requesting answers.
Dad 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.”
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The distraught dad described the rollercoaster of emotions that began with him arriving at the morgue at 8am to identify his son’s assets.
He told how he was informed some four hours later that his son was in fact alive – only for him to once again be announced dead five hours after that.
Peter said: “That day will forever be etched in my mind.”
And Msizi’s sister Hlobisile demanded to know who originally announced her brother dead, describing the entire ordeal as “painful and tense for the family”.
Keeka said the incident indicated the extent of the problems facing the province's health department.
The politician echoed the family’s requests, telling: “What we want to know is what level of training did the staff have who proclaimed him dead? What were the protocols?”
Dr Rishigen Viranna, a GP, told IOL: “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 very first hour.
“This did not occur in this case. However, the true cause of death will be determined after a post-mortem has been finished.”
The South African health department has begun an inquiry.
Health department head Dr Sifiso Mtshali said: “The department cannot comment at this stage as it is still gathering the facts regarding this matter.”