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Hospital patient hangs himself


The Delportshoop police have opened an inquest docket after a male patient was found hanging in a ward at Postmasburg Hospital.

Picture: Supplied

THE DELPORTSHOOP police have opened an inquest docket after a male patient was found hanging in a ward at Postmasburg Hospital.

The patient was reportedly admitted to the hospital after his family rushed him there on October 23.

The man was found hanging in his room by a female patient on October 26.

The man’s family members have accused the hospital of “negligence” and they plan on taking legal action as they say the patient was “never properly attended to”.

They said he was only put on a drip and then later “abandoned” by being moved to a dirty room without linen and curtains.

According to the family members, they had to look after their loved one on a daily basis because there were no nurses or cleaners in the entire ward.

They said they had to bath him and clean his room.

A family spokesperson said the man was rushed to the hospital after he experienced weakness and loss of appetite at home.

He added that they had previously taken him to the clinic, where his blood was drawn for testing. They were still awaiting his blood test results when his condition worsened.

Family members said they visited the patient twice a day, during visiting hours.

“Upon arrival at the hospital on Monday, October 23, he was put on a drip and put on oxygen as he was also experiencing shortness of breath. A relative spent the night by his bedside on the first night,” said the family representative.

“On Tuesday night he was still unattended, with the same drip from the previous day, which was now empty. His blood was also now leaking into the drip and also messing on the floor and the bed.

“On Wednesday, we found him in the empty, dirty room. I went to call a sister from another ward and she said she was not working in that ward. The sister explained that there is no one assigned to that ward and that even the cleaners did not show up.

“That is when we decided to clean the patient’s room ourselves. We scrubbed the floors, requested linen be put on his bed and bathed the patient.

“There were no curtains on the window, no door and the toilet was dirty and out of order. There was also a catheter lying in the basin.

“We wheeled the patient to another ward in order for him to get a new drip.”

The family said they were woken by the police during the early hours of Friday, October 27, and informed that the patient had hung himself in his room.

They pointed out that the patient was always complaining about the “bad treatment” at the hospital.

The family further claimed that the hospital “did not show any remorse and was unapologetic about the incident”.

“The hospital board even had the audacity to call us in and tell us not to involve the media in all of this.

“We were in a meeting with the hospital CEO and the mayor of Tsantsabane Local Municipality, Helena English, who said they were part of the hospital board. They said this matter should remain between us.”

A member of the family pointed out that this was not the first “unfortunate incident” he had experienced at the hospital.

He claimed that the nurses at the hospital switch off the lights and go to sleep at night without doing any rounds, only to get up and knock off for the next shift to take over in the morning.

“I almost lost my son in June when he went for a circumcision,” said the family member. “They tied the plaster too tight on him and I took him back when he started experiencing challenges.

“Upon my arrival there, no one was willing to help me, so I went straight to the doctor’s cabin. I found the arrogant doctor taking blood samples of a drunk man and I explained to him the purpose of my visit.

“He just kept quiet, finished what he was doing and turned around to walk away. When I was about to follow him, he threatened to call the police on me.”

The family member said he had no choice but to rush his son to Lenmed Hospital in Kimberley, where he had to pay R26,000 after his son was admitted for two days.

The Northern Cape Department of Health said that it is aware of the unfortunate incident at Postmasburg Hospital and conveyed its “deepest and most sincere condolences” to the bereaved family.

Department spokesperson Lulu Mxekezo said the department is currently conducting an extensive investigation to determine all the facts of the incident.

“Appropriate action will be implemented after finalising the investigation,” said Mxekezo.

“The patient was referred from the clinic to the hospital for further management. He was still managed and investigated while the incident happened. Sadly, the negative psychological disposition of the patient could not be detected and managed accordingly.”

Mxekezo said the department is continually engaging with the affected family.

Pictures: Supplied

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