Hospital blamed for death

2010-02-18 00:00

A KWAMPUMUZA family is blaming Edendale Hospital nurses for the death of their family member, Thobile Khumalo, on Sunday.

Khumalo (37) was admitted to the hospital on Thursday. She suffered from cancer of the ovary.

Relative Stishi Dlamini said Khumalo fell out of her hospital bed on Friday evening, face first, and was only picked up on Saturday morning.

Pictures of her bruised face taken by the family from the mortuary are evidence of her fall, they said.

She died on Sunday morning and her family believes that if she had been attended to on the night she fell, she might have survived.

“We understand the gravity of her illness, but we still believe that the fall did play a part in her death. She spent the whole of Friday night on the floor with a bruised face and probably in pain. What kind of treatment is that for people who are already in pain and [who] need to be cared for,” asked Dlamini.

He said patients from the same ward said they saw her fall off her bed, but when the family questioned the nurses on duty, they said they had put her on the floor themselves.

Hospital spokeswoman Samke Mncube said the matter was repor­ted to the Health Department and that an investigation is underway.

However, she said the patient ne­ver fell from her bed.

“The cause of [the] patient’s death is not related to the alleged fall. The hospital cannot divulge any further information as the patient’s confidentiality is protected under the Patients Rights Charter. The family can request it and will be provided with relevant information,” said Mncube.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) slammed the “inhumane treatment” meted out to Khumalo.

DA spokesman for health Radley Keys said, on his visit to the hospital, he discovered that the deceased was left lying on the floor until 4 am on Saturday.

He said he was told the night duty sister claimed that the deceased was put on the floor on a mattress as she was very restless.

“We cannot accept that explanation as she sustained a severe blow to the head, and she was reportedly bleeding from her mouth. Further, we understand that no report was submitted to the hospital management regarding the incident,” said Keys.

He stated that the poor treatment is an indictment on the quality of care offered by some nursing staff to patients, and indicative of insufficient staff being assigned to look after the patients.

On the night in question, Keys said only two nursing staff were on duty to attend to 38 patients.

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