First kept waiting, then sent home

2008-06-24 00:00

The ill woman from Scottsville, who was admitted to Edendale Hospital on Monday afternoon after being kept unattended at the outpatients department from Saturday evening for nearly three days, was discharged from ward 5B1 yesterday, 24 hours after admission.

Her concerned family were alerted by a person who refused to give her name.

A Witness investigation revealed that the patient was discharged because “her condition had greatly improved”.

Hospital PRO Samke Mncube said the patient is chronically ill and inpatient treatment was not indicated. She said the woman was reviewed by a specialist before being discharged.

A sister, asked whether the patient’s condition had improved, paused and said she did not think so.

A Witness source within the medical wards said yesterday’s article was met with anger from the hospital management.

“A patient so gravely ill like that can never be discharged after less than 24 hours unless further observation is conducted [although] it wouldn’t take days before they are discharged.”

A senior health worker said that although she did not know the circumstances that led to the patient being discharged, she questioned the timing of such an action by the hospital.

“This case is not isolated at Edendale, but clearly, we’ve deviated from Batho Pele principles. The Bill of Rights, under health care, states categorically that the government must make sure you have access to food and water; health care and social security,” she said.

Yesterday, The Witness was inundated with angry calls from members of the community and health workers who slammed the hospital’s incapability to deal with the matter.

nathi@witness.co.za

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