Frere Hospital patient’s ‘lunchbox bedpan’ goes viral

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A bedridden patient who shared her humiliation on Facebook over being made to urinate in her lunchbox has forced authorities to act against nurses at Frere Hospital in the Eastern Cape. The Times reports that Sinethemba Joya‚ 29‚ posted a picture of the lunchbox “potty” next to her bed – causing an outcry on social media at the weekend.

“At Frere Hospital we are allowed to pee 3 times a day after each meal. If you have a pee between or after those meal time you won’t be helped. Some old people… get punished by sitting the whole day in their wet beds or not given other night scrubs‚” she wrote.

The report says the Eastern Cape Health Department has responded swiftly to the post. “We have stepped in and listened to the complaints of the patients. These complaints are totally unacceptable and it is not the way patients should be treated at the hospital‚” department spokesperson Lwandile Sicwetsha is quoted in the report as saying.

The MEC has asked hospital management to look into the conduct of the nurses in that particular ward and immediately put corrective measures in place that upholds the dignity and rights of the patients.”

The report says Joya‚ who lives in Cape Town‚ was left with two broken legs after being involved in a taxi crash in September. She said that patients in her ward were only given bedpans by nurses after mealtimes and at their bath-time‚ 4am.

“Eventually I had no option but to use the container I store my food in. I didn’t want to pee on myself because I still have cuts and bruises on my back so lying in my own urine for hours would’ve made them itchy and infected‚” she said. “I was so angry at how I had to urinate. Having to resort to using a lunchbox I’d been using for food was so humiliating and degrading‚” she said.

The report says Frere Hospital was scheduled to receive an international accolade last week at the 42nd World Hospital Congress in Brisbane‚ Australia‚ in recognition for improving its service and patient care. The hospital’s CEO‚ Dr Rolene Wagner‚ said that management and staff had worked hard to turn around the once ailing facility‚ under difficult conditions.

The Times report

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