Monday, 15 April, 2024
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Patient lays complaint after 'horror' Soweto hospital stay

A Gauteng woman is demanding accountability from a private hospital in Soweto after what she has described as three days of horror last month, and during which she claims she also witnessed callous treatment of fellow patients.

In her complaint to Clinix Tshepo-Themba Private Hospital, she said dirty linen was moved from one patient’s bed to the next, urine-filled bedpans were left exposed throughout the day, and patients with leaking wounds had to fend for themselves.

TimesLIVE Premium has also seen the complaint document.

The woman, who asked not be named, wants accountability from the hospital after the alleged mistreatment of not only herself, but other patients in the ward.

The former patient, who was admitted with breathing problems, claims her stay was characterised by neglect and abuse – not just of her but of fellow patients.

“I still have nightmares about (one patient’s) screams when she fell while trying to clean herself of the leakage from her surgical wound, which would drench her bed,” the woman said.

“She would lie there in the soaking wet bed for hours.”

Apparently, the woman alleged, at one point, the other patient had asked a nurse for water to wash herself, but when she was handed a basin of water, “she fell, and the basin went straight after her”.

“She screamed. I got up to help her and … saw a nurse standing at the door with her back to our ward, just ignoring the screams”.

Another patient had injuries to both legs and was immobile, unable to go to the toilet.

She was given a bedpan but needed help to position it.

“She would ask (me) for help and I would have to get out my bed to help her. The full pan would stay in the ward all day, making the ward smell of urine.”

The complainant said she also experienced shoddy treatment.

At one point, she could not breathe and her efforts to raise the alarm through her bedside bell yielded no results. She ended up calling her husband at home. He phoned the hospital and only then did a nurse assist her.

In another incident, a nurse was changing the bedding in their ward and instead of providing fresh linen, allegedly moved the bedding from a previously occupied bed to hers.

She said she raised her concerns about hygiene and the possibility of infections.

“When she eventually took the dirty sheets off my bed, she realised that she had also grabbed my white vest. She turned and threw it at me, hitting me in the face. When I confronted her, she said, ‘That was a joke’. Another nurse who was there saw everything and even apologised on her behalf.”

These complaints, said the woman, were brought to the attention of a senior sister the next day, who allegedly apologised and reprimanded staff, telling them they should “treat patients right” because they “do not know who they are and could possibly be Ministers”.

The patient said she wanted the healthcare workers brought to book.

TimesLIVE has seen correspondence between the hospital and the woman.

In one mail, Tendai Makwabarara, the hospital manager, said they had investigated the incident and also been in contact with some of the patients who were in the ward at the time.

She told TimesLIVE that “we will be engaging the patient … with regard to the outcomes of the investigation to address any concerns and interventions undertaken thus far”.


TimesLIVE article – Soweto hospital nightmare: patient describes her litany of horrors (Restricted access)


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