Turned away, then dies

2010-08-14 00:00

AN ill woman who was sent home from Northdale Hospital because of the public servants’ strike died yesterday.

Mildred Mwelase (36) was admitted to hospital on Monday with a painful cough and swollen feet.

When her family went to visit her on Tuesday, they said, they found her lying on the floor without blankets, shivering from the cold, and her voice was hoarse.

Her mother, Malindi Mwelase, said the staff on duty gave no explanation, but that the family were told to take Mildred home.

Later that day her condition deteriorated and she was taken back to hospital.

On Wednesday her family visited her again and discovered that her condition had deteriorated further. However, the nursing staff, who were on strike and not wearing their uniforms, told the family to take her home.

The family claimed they were told there would be no medical help for her during the strike.

“My heart is heavy with what happened to my child. When we took her home she was weak, she could not talk or eat, but the people we depend on turned their backs on her. Now she is gone forever,” said her mother.

She said Mwelase, who was employed by Spectrum Services, a maintenance company contracted by Hilton College, was supporting her and the family financially.

HIV and Aids researcher Jacqui Pienaar said she witnessed Mwelase’s last struggle to cling to life.

Pienaar is initiating a community healthcare programme in Hilton Valley.

She said that on Tuesday afternoon she was in the area and was asked to visit Mwelase. She cannot believe that a patient in her condition could be chased out of hospital.

She said Mwelase was taken back to the hospital by ambulance only to be sent back home on Wednesday.

“When the family called me again to monitor her, there was no hope. This strike has caused much pain and agony to the poor people of this country. Its detrimental effects on the people are not unfortunate incidents as this whole thing could have been avoided,” said Pienaar.

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