Elderly woman dies after being sent home

2010-09-04 00:00

DEATHS due to hospital disruptions continue to mount as the public sector strike drags on.

On Thursday night an elderly patient died after Northdale Hospital could not admit her overnight, apparently due to their depleted workforce.

Nomusa Mkhize (76), a frail patient at the SAVF old age home, was taken to Northdale suffering from hypertension, dementia and a heart condition.

At about 3 pm the hospital called the home to say they would not be keeping Mkhize overnight.

She was sent back by ambulance with a drip in her arm.

Staff at the home said that when the drip ran dry, they had to remove it themselves, and when checking her vital signs they found her blood pressure was low.

They said they called the district surgeon at the hospital, who advised them to bring her back, but she died before they could take her there.

Henry Spencer, a manager at the home, said they believe the strike contributed to Mkhize’s death.

“I do not blame the hospital for her death, but I believe that the strike contributed.

“The workers at the hospital did everything they could; it’s just that there was not enough workers to help with the situation.”

Spencer described the situation as tantamount to elder abuse.

“What is of concern to me is that although the state hospitals are themselves attempting to carry on, in spite of the circumstances, the strike is contributing to deaths.

“We talk about the cost of the strike in monetary terms but what about the cost of human lives?”

Attempts to contact Health Department spokesperson Chris Maxon for comment were unsuccessful.

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