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Body of hospital patient discovered near Prieska Koppie

Jakob Seekoei. Picture supplied

The family of a Prieska man, Jakob Seekoei whose body was discovered days after he was admitted at the Bill Pickard Hospital are seeking answers.

THE family of a Prieska man, Jakob Seekoei whose body was discovered at the Koppie days after he was admitted at the Bill Pickard Hospital are seeking answers on how the deceased managed to walk out of the facility.

The body of the deceased was discovered on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 by a passer-by near the Prieska Golf course.

According to the niece of the deceased, Shenise Springbok said they got news that her uncle had died after they had discovered that he was no longer in the hospital when they went to pay him a visit.

“On Wednesday, 17 November 2021, my uncle was complaining about having pain in his stomach and his chest. I took him to the local doctor. The doctor instructed us to take him to the local hospital, which we did. At the hospital, he was immediately admitted. We then went to visit him in the hospital that Friday. We were planning on going to visit him again over the weekend, however it was raining heavily that weekend up until Monday, November 22, 2021. On Tuesday morning, November 23, 2021 my brother and other uncle headed to the hospital to see whether my sick uncle’s condition had improved. They found him not to be there when they were looking for him inside the ward. They asked the staff who were on duty that day and nobody seemed to have any knowledge of where my uncle was. My brother called me and told me that my uncle was not at the hospital. My brother said it appeared that my uncle was missing as nobody could account for where he was. My grandmother and I rushed down to the hospital to go seek clarity on the matter. The management of the hospital told us that they will check the security report to see what has happened. One employee mentioned that my uncle had left the hospital on Saturday already. To our shock, we asked whether he was discharged and how come nobody notified us about that. We were requested by the management to return again as they want to ascertain what happened,”said Springbok.

She said they were notified by the local doctor that their loved-one had died.

“The next morning we went back to the hospital to hear whether they had any information on the whereabouts of my uncle. They could not give us any answers and we returned home discouraged and worried. On the same day we were fetched by staff from the hospital. The local doctor then told us that there was a body found at the koppie and that the deceased was my uncle. The doctor told us that my uncle still had a drip attached to his arm,” she cried.

Springbok said that they never thought that the one place where they believed their uncle would receive healing would be the place that would lead him to his death.

“We sent my uncle to the hospital to get healing from the pain he was experiencing. It is heartbreaking to know that those we entrusted him to did not take the necessary care to ensure his safety. It is especially heartbreaking to know that he did not die from an ailment inside the hospital, but he was somewhere alone and cold. Who knows what he was feeling during his last moments. Plus it was raining on that weekend and he was all alone in the dark. It is painful to think that your loved-one had to leave this earth in such a traumatic manner, she cried.

She said they have since not received any explanation or clarity on how their uncle managed to leave the hospital unnoticed.

“Nobody came to explain how this incident happened. None of the management have come to us and given us any clarity on the matter. We know that my uncle could not see and hear properly. We agreed for him to be admitted at the hospital because we believed that he would be safe. We never imagined for this to end this way and now everyone is just keeping quiet about it. We cannot just close the chapter and let the matter just go away quietly,” she said.

The Northern Cape Department of Health said appropriate action will be taken after an investigation has been concluded in the matter.

Department spokesperson, Lulu Mxekezo said the department views the incident as serious.

“It is with sadness that the department confirms the incident. The department conveys its condolences to the bereaved family. The matter is viewed in a serious manner and is a huge concern to the department. During preliminary investigations, we noticed a hole in the fence at the back of the hospital which raised suspicion that the patient might have used that to exit. Appropriate disciplinary measures will be implemented after the finalisation of the investigations,” said Mxekezo.

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