Triage system at centre of abuse

2018-03-29 06:02
A nurse at the Khayelitsha Site B Community Health Centre alleges that abuse at the hands of patients affects work morale at facilities of health. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

A nurse at the Khayelitsha Site B Community Health Centre alleges that abuse at the hands of patients affects work morale at facilities of health. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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A recent alleged incident of verbal abuse has pushed a nurse to speak out against abuse at the hands of aggressive patients or relatives.

Thulani Giyose, 32, is a health practitioner at the Khayelitsha Site B Community Health Centre who has decided to go public with the trauma of abuse as a means to bring awareness to what he claims are the dangerous working conditions faced by nurses.

Two Mondays ago, Giyose claims that he felt so victimised by a relative of a patient, he had to call the police for relief.

“A man had came in the facility after sustaining gun shot wounds ... I attended to the patient and bandaged his wounds while he was waiting for a doctor. Bleeding from his wounds, the man’s brother became so angry he started threatening my life,” he alleged.

“It was at that moment that I decided to call the police as I felt scared ... He said.

“However, en-route to hospital, the man apologised and the police advised that if we could resolve the matter, it could be laid to rest.

“ ... So I decided not to open a case and returned to work,” he said.

He said that even though the patient was healed of his wound, he remains worried about his own well-being.

According to Giyose, this was not the first time he had an altercation at his place of work.

“In November last year I had a complaint against me following a scuffle with an agitated patient. The patient had raised his hand on me so I blocked him and there was a complaint against me that I had struck a patient but that too didn’t go anywhere as it was a fabrication,” he said.

This kind of abuse, he says, has become a regular occurrence by patients, impatient with the system.

“I have worked in this facility for 11 years and the situation has gotten to levels which I can’t tolerate anymore.

The problem is that the patients and the people that accompany them to the facility have little understanding of how we work,” said Giyose.

City Vision asked why he did not raise the issue with management, he said claims of professional seem to dwarf any complaints.

He said verbal abuse affected work morale, but believes that he might have a solution to this problem.

“The main point of contention is the speed with which patients are being assisted and they do not have the necessary understanding of the health department triage system.

People get angry when they spend hours waiting for medical attention while others are being taken care of.

They shout and scream at nurses because it would seem we are ignoring their relatives.

There should be more resources available so that people with physical injuries are attended at the trauma and people who are sick are treated at a different area,” he said.

He said the he fears that one day the idle threats will be more than just threats, and he may lose his life.

Western Cape Health Department's Maret Lesch said that they are looking into the incident.

“We have requested the facility management to investigate the incident and to recommend preventative measures so we can collectively prevent such incidents from happening again,” she added.

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