Home News More complaints emerge about quality of health care at De Aar Hospital

More complaints emerge about quality of health care at De Aar Hospital


Several patients have reported suffering trauma after receiving “inhumane” treatment at the hospital.

File image. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

FURTHER complaints have emerged regarding the quality of health care at De Aar Hospital following the death of a patient, Willemse van Syfer, 75, who was allegedly left unattended in the Covid-19 ward on the weekend when staff left before the next shift arrived.

According to bereaved family members, Van Syfer was not properly attended to. “The medical treatment was exceptionally poor and amounts to gross negligence.”

They said that Van Syfer had contacted his son on July 3, saying that he was hungry as he had not been served any breakfast.

“We are not certain if he had eaten supper. Upon arrival at the hospital there were no medical or nursing staff on duty in the Covid-19 ward. The last shift ended at 7am, where relief staff only arrived at around 8am. He was not able to go to the bathroom or wash himself.

“He was connected to an oxygen machine but no one was monitoring his oxygen levels. He died at around 2pm on July 3.”

The relatives stated that Van Syfer was admitted on the evening of July 2 as he was suffering from Covid-19 complications and had trouble breathing.

They added that the family members who had entered the Covid-19 ward were currently in quarantine.

Other patients have meanwhile reported suffering trauma after receiving “inhumane” treatment at the hospital.

Carina Jordaan said that she intended to open a case of negligence following the treatment her father received at the Covid-19 unit at De Aar Hospital.

“My 69-year-old father was not bathed or sponge bathed and never received any assistance to brush his teeth during the 11 days that he was admitted at the hospital. He struggled to feed himself and lost 10 kilograms in the process. He had to make use of a bucket to flush the toilet,” said Jordaan.

She added that he struggled to disconnect his drip when he needed to make use of the bathroom.

“Nursing staff told him to ‘get up’ after he fell walking between the bathroom and getting back to his hospital bed.”

Jordaan stated further that her father suffered from mouth and ear sores and that staff were disrespectful and rude to her father.

“He was discharged on June 3 but died of heart complications on June 15.

“He was traumatised and I am convinced that the treatment that he was subjected to contributed towards worsening his condition.”

Other patients who wanted to be admitted to the Covid-19 unit at De Aar Hospital complained that they were turned away.

Another patient pleaded for the provincial government to “drastically improve” conditions and patient care.

“I felt helpless and too scared to be admitted. It is the only hospital in De Aar and people are afraid of going there even in the event of a medical crisis. It is a world-class hospital but the conditions are worse than a concentration camp.

“I asked the doctor who diagnosed me with Covid-19 to rather let me die at home. I suffered complications and had to be admitted.”

The spokesperson for the MEC for Health, Lebogang Majaha, said a senior management team had visited the bereaved family on Monday to convey their heartfelt condolences on the loss of their loved one.

“As we have already indicated, the Northern Cape Department of Health established a task team, comprising of senior managers, to undertake an investigation into this matter. We anticipate the investigation to be completed by the end of this week and further details pertaining to the alleged incident will be shared at a later stage.”

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