Are our hospitals too sick to care? - Grey’s

2013-08-28 00:00

WHEN semi-paralysed Janine Lloyd began losing sensation in her functional limbs, the quickest thing she could do was seek help at Grey’s Hospital.

However, Lloyd, who suffers from hemiplegia, did not find the help she needed.

Instead, she was told to return to her car and to go to another hospital, even though she had a medical file at Grey’s.

It all started when Lloyd began experiencing pain and an unbearable burning sensation under her feet, after helping her father move home on August 8.

“I started to panic when I realised I could hardly walk and the pain was getting worse quickly.”

Lloyd, who lives in Mayor’s Walk, said she needed help fast and could not wait for an ambulance that might take hours to respond.

“I was too scared to be alone.”

She drove herself in her automatic car to the nearest hospital, Grey’s.

“I just wanted to get to the hospital for help. I knew you could only go there on referral, but I thought they would help me since I had a file open there in any case.

“It was just too far to get to Northdale in my conditon.”

When she arrived at Grey’s, the emergency room was “absolutely empty”.

She spoke to a doctor and asked for help.

“I begged him to render some assistance, but he would not budge, saying ‘it’s against policy’ and that I must go to Northdale hospital,” said Lloyd. She eventually left the hospital after asking for help to get to her car.

For Alta Erasmus, Lloyd’s experience brings back painful memories.

Her mother-in-law, Maureen Erasmus, was a cancer patient at Grey’s in 2010, but was refused treatment a day before a scheduled appointment there.

“We thought they would treat her because she was a patient there. She was vomiting on herself and they did nothing. We begged them.

“They put her in a bed and said the best they could do was to get an ambulance to transport her to another hospital.”

Erasmus said she took her mother-in-law to Edendale, where they immediately attended to her.

“It was too late. She passed away that morning. I’m not saying Grey’s could have saved her, but if they treated her when she needed it, who knows if she could have been saved?”

Health Department spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said Lloyd’s case would be investigated. “No one should be turned away from any hospital in an emergency situation.”

DA in KZN visits hospitals to assess situation

THE DA in KZN recently visited Addington and RK Khan hospitals in Durban, and Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg to assess whether these hospitals are dealing with the issues they have faced over the years.

Mark Steele, who visited Edendale, said that the conditions had improved since last year. “Edendale’s management was very open about the issues they are facing and how they are addressing them.

“The hospital is clean and functioning at high standard and their commitment to patient care is visible,” said Steele, who is set to visit Northdale Hospital next.

“Last year, the major concern with Northdale was a huge increase in patient numbers, which the institution could not cope with. We will see if this has improved.”

There was a noticeable improvement in both Durban hospitals despite the massive strain due to the growing number of patients, said Steele.

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