News24

Kids find mom naked in body bag

2012-08-01 08:46

Durban - An investigation has been launched into the treatment of a Durban woman at Addington Hospital after the family complained that hours after they had last seen her; they found her dead and naked in a body bag.

The Daily News stated that Valerie Nortje, 67, was admitted to hospital after falling ill.

Nortje’s daughter Haley van Niekerk had numerous complaints about the way her mother was treated on the night she was admitted and during which she died.

She mentioned that her mom was left on a stretcher for hours, that she couldn’t get a CT scan because the scanner was out of order and that they had to wait hours for test results.

Nortje died during the night and after the family was informed, they rushed to the hospital to find another patient already in her bed and their mother lying naked in a white body bag in a room down the passage.

Van Niekerk said a doctor told her that it was hospital policy that “patients this age, with odds stacked against them, be left to die with dignity. So, they put her on oxygen, shut the door and left her to die,” said Van Niekerk.

Nortje died of renal failure.

The head of health in KwaZulu-Natal Dr Sibongile Zungu said a probe was under way but also said hospital staff denied that Nortje was “left to die”.

Comments
  • jurgen.eksteen - 2012-08-01 08:58

    What happened to the Oath of Hippocrates?

      theo.schoeman.71 - 2012-08-01 09:25

      This people dont know the meaning of the word Oath ... and never will. Wonder whats in the worst state in this country ... Health or Education

      celtis.africana - 2012-08-01 10:02

      The ethical standards and professionalism of a once proud medical profession was left to die in dignity since the ANC took over.

      delish7564 - 2012-08-01 11:00

      In the UK they don't say it any longer!!!!! Don't know about SA.

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-08-07 09:12

      "Patient that age" - She was 67 not 87!! And even if she were they are under oath to do whatever they can to save her. I hope this family sues - too many South Africans put up with disgusting service because they don't know their rights.

  • rudie.stoltz - 2012-08-01 08:58

    SUE THEYRE ASSES OFF. So they assisted her in dying ?

      sarah.bouttell - 2012-08-01 09:43

      No, they withheld treatment. It's different. Am not taking either side here, I don't think we have all the facts - but the legal definition of assisted suicide is actually GIVING drugs to quicken death.

      sarah.bouttell - 2012-08-01 09:54

      Just to be clear, we don't know how ill the lady really was. There is a difference between giving drugs to save a life, and giving drugs to extend a miserable existance of a really sick person. None of us are her doctors, we don't know all the details. If the hospital are at fault of any one thing SO FAR, it is that the family were not advised of her death.

      carla.vittori3 - 2012-08-01 10:09

      @Sarah - I see and understand and can even appreciate your point on the legalities. However, the patient herself must agree that treatment be withheld and that can only be done if she was legally capable of doing so and none of her faculties impaired in any way. The doctors and hospital would still be on the line for her death through negligence unless they can prove that she instructed them to withhold treatment and was entirely compos mentos at the time.

      koo.doyle - 2012-08-01 10:14

      This story has more holes in than a sieve. Definitely does not contain all the facts.

  • john.turner.58760608 - 2012-08-01 09:03

    A man discharged as healthy, has his intestines fall out of a septic wound at home. A woman is left to die at Addington. I will take my chances on getting better at home rather than risk the death camps that SA's hospitals have become.

      ray.priestley.79 - 2012-08-01 09:13

      Wait till they get the NHI going[with your money and then force the private hospitals out of business.

  • kevin.pitzer - 2012-08-01 09:05

    What happened to the Hippocratic Oath ?

      danny.archer.589 - 2012-08-01 09:31

      The hypocritical one?

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-08-01 10:00

      Nah it's all about the pay check

      gail.hayesbean - 2012-08-01 17:35

      One cannot fault the doctors and nurses at the pitface - they render the service they are able to under impossible conditions and while these things are awful one doesn't pay a cent for them whether your experience leaves you alive or dead. Private hospitals charge you for everything -cotton wool swabs, cotton buds gauze etc and you can still die of negligence but they won't admit you unless you pay up BEFORE admission and if they mess up because of administrative demands or plain incompetence you still have to pay for it. The doctors will even try to shift the blame to the nurses if you sue them by altering medical charts etc. A friend of mine's husband NOT on medical aid had to pay R5,000 for a day procedure and accidentally the procedure went wrong leaving her husband in intensive care on life support. Ultimately a friend gave her the medical advice that he was not going to recover and so after a family conference including the husband, they instructed the hospital to remove life support. She is still battling financially to deal with the debt incurred due to a medical bungle which kept him in hospital for 5 days.

  • didi.henning - 2012-08-01 09:08

    I am sure she would have appreciated her family being with her during her last, And I am sure her family would have like to be there to comfort her during. WTF closed the door and left to die with dignity at 67.

  • ntsiki.mdeni - 2012-08-01 09:16

    Omw another story about an SA hospital ignorance??

  • alfonso - 2012-08-01 09:17

    Wow another nurse and hospital story!! What's wrong with SA helathsystem,ahh there was never realy one!!! So if NHI ever comes and privat insurances closed down guess I'm moving out from here!! It will get worse!!!

  • sizwe.mkhize.376 - 2012-08-01 09:17

    whats happening with healthcare, seems like its for deaths benefit only

  • bob.small.7547 - 2012-08-01 09:18

    A friend of mine 3 weeks back after being stabbed, was left to die (bleed out) a few hours after being admitted to RK Khan hospital in Durban! He was not treated adequately at all. If he had been at a private hospital he would most likely have survived. Banana Government!

      gail.hayesbean - 2012-08-01 17:37

      Don't count on it!

  • leighanne.williams.9 - 2012-08-01 09:18

    I have had this same comment from PRIVATE DOCTOR IN A PRIVATE HOSPITAL, that my gran is in now. He told me to decide if he should rehydrate her or just leave her to dehydrate and then her organ would fail and she will die and I would not have to hassle anymore. I was furious and told him if he did not get a drip up immediately and treat her properly I was charging him with attempted murder. A drip was up so fast and she has had first class treatment since. They are not allowed to do that and it is murder and I have been watching other docs do it to other patients at the same hosp.

      mary.sadler.35 - 2012-08-01 09:31

      But did your Gran have any say in the matter? Of course I don't know the circumstances, but personally I would prefer to die with dignity rather than be kept alive with machines and drips.

      carla.vittori3 - 2012-08-01 10:12

      @langehenning - if she is competent to say that treatment should be withheld then that should be respected. if not then her treatment and the decisions in relation thereto is in the hands of her next-of-kin.

      mary.sadler.35 - 2012-08-01 10:25

      But her next of kin may not always have her best interest at heart, simply because they cannot let go when they should. A living will would of course be the answer to this dilemma.

      leighanne.williams.9 - 2012-08-01 10:27

      Yes my gran has all her faculties and totally competent and she did ask the nurses who just said sorry doctors orders and when doc came she asked him and he totally ignored her. Just because she is old they think she is imcompetent and treat her so.

      leighanne.williams.9 - 2012-08-01 10:29

      Carla she did want treatment was just ignored.

      carla.vittori3 - 2012-08-01 12:32

      @Leighanne - That's my point - if she hadn't wanted treatment she would have refused. If no indication is made by the patient then the doctors and nurses have a legal duty to tend to them regardless of the prospects of survival. And if a patient refuses treatment and the doctors still treats them then they are acting in contravention of the patient's Constitutional right to dignity and choice as well as assaulting them in the process. @Lang - thats a factor that has to be taken into account but at this point in time there is no alternative in our law. Many people try living wills but these are not valid or enforceable here in SA. There has been a commission working on maybe legalising them but nothing has come from that in the 7 years since it was started. There is also the option of an enduring power of attorney which anyone could use to appoint someone as their medical proxy - the problem is that if the person is unconscious or in any other way impaired the POA falls away.

  • Charmaine Hasell - 2012-08-01 09:21

    Over several generations, much of my family was born there, now you go to die there. Pray for those without medical plans, there are too many Saffas that can't afford more than govt hellspitals.

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-08-01 09:23

    Oo no! Culpable homocide in hospital.May God comfort the family and friends during this melancholy juncture.

      John - 2012-08-01 21:03

      You are so right. Let us ALL get some HEART for our fellow man. Who cares about race colour sex whatever.

  • desmond.drake.1 - 2012-08-01 09:25

    Leave Selebi to DIE as well. Equal rights for all

  • chez.kri - 2012-08-01 09:25

    "Patients this age"????? My gran died at 93 and was fit, active and white water rafting at 80! Who are they to say that 67 is an acceptable age to die?

      Harold Chisimba - 2012-08-01 09:38

      chez,The doctor is lacking of love and passion about saving lives.

      sarah.bouttell - 2012-08-01 09:47

      We don't have all the detail or facts. This person was cleary NOT a fit or active 67, or she would not have been in hospital. She could have already been in multiple organ failure from one disease or another. Sometimes, people don't get 87 years, they only get 6 or 16 or 63 or 67 for that matter. It's is awful, but it can't be changed.

      Happyness - 2012-08-01 11:38

      I have to agree with Sara. The hospital did NOT handle this well and they should be sued for not treating her. However, you do not die of renal failure overnight, you are sick for a long time if you are treated, and no matter how much dialysis you have, if you don't have a transplant you will die. They don't mention whether she was on treatment, but if she wasn't she neglected herself because the symptoms of renal failure are obvious. How do I know? Personal experience. And sometimes by the time you seek help, it's too late. How do I know? Personal experience. I have known two people (aged 60 and 24) die in private hospitals due to their illnesses. My 24 year old friend died during her second treatment (of leukemia). My 60 year old friend died after two years of treatment (suffered during and before those two years). Moral of the story? It is disgusting how the hospital handled this and they should be taken to the cleaners BUT this woman more than likely would have died anyway.

  • iceman196 - 2012-08-01 09:32

    bastards, keep your medical aid up to speed folks

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-08-01 09:39

    So ok now tell me if that is the case why the special treatment for Selebi. Jackie Selebi is older than this lady yet he jumped the queue for dialysis, so it seems old people need to turn to crime, it pays at all costs.

  • jayne.oldewage - 2012-08-01 10:12

    2 years ago, a friend aged 37 was admitted with pneumonia and his wife was phoned 5 hours after his death. He drowned in the fluid from his lungs and we assume they only phoned after 5 hours because that was when they found him!

  • chris.cunning.14 - 2012-08-01 10:14

    Peoples intestines falling out, people left to die. And all the idiots want NHI??? Really? Bunch of a$$holes running the hospitals these days.

  • Tshepo Mongale - 2012-08-01 10:37

    our government hospitals are in a complete disarray.

  • gustav.harmse - 2012-08-01 10:43

    White people live in la la land, this is payback due we really think that blacks gives a rats ass about a sick white person when they can’t even look after black patient.

      deon.vanrhyn - 2012-08-01 11:26

      u are a mentally sick person

      John - 2012-08-01 20:50

      You are an ignorant rascist with your head up your rectum. Everyone including you have constitutional rights but one with ones head up ones rectum can only see faeces.

      Zahir - 2012-08-01 20:55

      There is a bed in a govt hospital waiting for you to die in

  • anke.potgieter.9 - 2012-08-01 10:55

    So sad it's come to this!

  • delish7564 - 2012-08-01 11:15

    The sad reality is that harsh decisions are made from time to time when there is lack of bed space, doctors, nurses etc. Doesn't make it right but it happens and not just in this country, I speak from personal experience, having it happen to a member of my family :( Very sorry for this lady's family, they shouldn't have been placed in the position of seeing her like that - there is no dignity in death, sadly!!!!

  • robynne.els.1 - 2012-08-01 11:21

    This is shocking but unfortunately it is the result of not enough in the budget! My husband is a doctor in a public hospital and it often breaks his heart to stick to the guidelines they are given! He has even been asked to see his patients quicker! It is not only old people but babies as well. If a baby is born before 28 weeks and doesn't weigh 1kg they do not ventilate because there are not enough ventilators! While there are a few dodgy doctors most doctors are fighting against a system to be able to give the best care possible!

      winifred.watson.9 - 2012-08-01 12:34

      Yes Robynne.els I hear what you say but it is very disturbing when you see somebody like jackie selebi, who they say is at end stage needs renal treatment a few times a week and he was able to get that in a a govt hospital while this poor lady was just left to die. It really is not fair. It is very very sad for the family. For those of us have have to rely on medical treatment at a govt hospital it is terrifying. After the end of this year I am sure I will be forced to terminate my medical aid as a pensioner it has just become too expensive, I believe that when the time comes, I will just suffer at home until the end. Noways, will I subject myself to the filth and abuse at these hospitals. I am not blaming the doctors, this is what our country has fallen into chaos at all levels.

      sarah.bouttell - 2012-08-01 14:02

      @ Winnifred - Don't just cancel, I have done a bit of research for a friend with an elderly mom, there are some reasonable hosipital plans or very basic med aids which you might still be able to affford, and which will at least cover you for the basics. I am NOT a broker, but did see value in a package called one plan. There is a reasonable option for older people. Alternatively, speak to your/a broker before you just end the medical insurance.

  • Martin - 2012-08-01 12:43

    What is the DA doing about this ?

  • sarah.sarah.1428 - 2012-08-01 16:05

    Pathetic Addington Hospital. PATHETIC! The Oath Of Hipocrates doesn't seems to exist any more.

      zandile.lerato.5 - 2012-08-01 23:03

      Yes sara I agree with you hipocrates not the nurses.You should check your spelling before you post.

  • gail.hayesbean - 2012-08-01 17:21

    Again, in a sense your Mom was fortunate to have been put into a room alone after she died. In one of our local Govt hospitals a woman in a general ward who had died was stripped naked and cleaned and left lying for all the visitors to see including her husband without a sheet or a curtain to provide her loved ones with any comfort. It is a fact that in most State hospitals when you have a loved one who is terminally ill they do not allow you to even be with them at the end unless they conveniently die during visiting hours. This by order of the Security Personnel and not the medics. My own father died under the most appalling conditions in a State Hospital but he at least was clean and peaceful and covered when the family arrived to visit him. We were told by the physician on duty that we were safe in the hospital itself but he could not guarantee our safety if we walked out to get to the wardmy father was being admitted to. All ANC MP's should be forced to be treated at govt hospitals as they expect their voters to be. These were once perfectly functional institutions which have been allowed to go to wrack and ruin on the ANC watch.

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