Hospital death shocks family

2015-05-11 07:57
Hospital bed. (Shutterstock)

Hospital bed. (Shutterstock)

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“IT wasn’t just that my mother died, it was the ordeal we as a family had to go through at Northdale Hospital that we will never forget.”

These were the tearful words spoken by Letitia Bentley at a Northdale Hospital community meeting last week.

Her mother, Rose Mary Bentley (75), died at the end of April after suffering two strokes while in the hospital’s care.

The family said their mother suffered her first stroke and was found on the bathroom floor by nurses a day after she was admitted in April.

“No one from the hospital called to even tell us that she had a stroke. I went to the hospital at 11 am for visiting hours and couldn’t find my mother. The nurses and doctors didn’t even know where she was,” said Letitia.

Letitia said she and her sisters, Stephanie and Vanessa, searched the hospital until they found their mother in another ward.

“My mother was treated so badly. During her stay when we would visit her, we would find that nurses had fed her but had left strands of food all over her face and bed. The ants would actually be crawling on my mother’s body and bed and no one would clean up. It was all just one big disaster,” said Letitia.

Letitia said she immediately reported their grievances to the matron on duty and are yet to receive any feedback from the hospital, even after her mother died.

The family claim that the nursing staff did not notify them of their mother’s second stroke and during visiting hours they arrived to find their mother unconscious.

“The hospital did not handle my mother with care. She was paralysed yet they mishandled her. We have seen it all in this hospital and we are very heartsore,” said Letitia.

The family added that questions surrounding their mother’s suffering and eventual death plague them.

“We cannot say whether my mother suffered her strokes due to the neglect of the hospital or if it was just her health. We do not know, but whatever it is, we are just left with bad memories of how my mother died,” she said.

Northdale Hospital chairperson Rachel Soobiah said that steps would be taken to “put the minds of the family at ease”.

“We are not shying away from what happened. Rest assured that a complete investigation will be done. We will look at all the allegations made and the necessary steps will be taken against those responsible,” Soobiah told The Witness.

Northdale Hospital held its first consultative meeting last Thursday in which the community was invited to air their views on the hospital.

Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela and district medical manager May Zuma-Mkhonza were present at the meeting to listen in.

“There was a very poor response from the community at this meeting, however we do plan to have this meeting with the community on a regular basis and we encourage people to attend. I believe that only through consulting can we strengthen the hospital and the care it offers,” said Soobiah.

She added that the major issue facing the hospital is understaffing and staff attitude.

“We do have a staffing issue and due to that, many nurses are burnt out and this brings out the worst in them. It is not everyone, it is just a handful of staff,” she said.

By the time of going to press, no response was received from the Department of Health to questions sent to them about Rose Mary Bentley’s care at the hospital

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