Care giver ‘held hostage’ at Livingstone hospital

2015-07-22 06:00
We Care founder Ashlene Arends.

We Care founder Ashlene Arends. Photo:SUPPLIED

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A Bethelsdorp community leader claims she was held hostage and assaulted by security guards and staff at Livingstone Hospital last week while trying to locate an elderly patient.

Ashlene Arends, a care giver and founder of an elderly care centre, We Care, in Bethelsdorp, said she could not sleep a wink after the traumatic incident last Tuesday.

According to Arends she was locked in the office of a doctor with five security guards manhandling her trying to delete photos she had taken of a doctor and a receptionist at the hospital.

Arends said she had visited the hospital to pick up one of her elderly patients but was met by an ill-mannered receptionist. “One of the care givers had taken one of our elderly ladies to the hospital for treatment. At around 2pm I called them to ask how far they were so I could pick them up. The care giver told me they had not been helped yet. I decided to drive to the hospital to get clarity on the situation,” said Arends.

Arends said when she arrived at the hospital she went to the reception and was ignored by the receptionist. “I was not sure if she was a receptionist or nurse because they don’t wear a uniform or name tags. I waited for five minutes to get her attention but she said she was busy. I told her I was there to pick up one of my residents because she needed help and she was old. The woman told me she couldn’t just discharge a patient and told me to speak to the doctor.”

Arends said she was directed to an office where she found what she thought was a doctor with another patient. “I told him that I needed my patient discharged and he said he didn’t have the authority to discharge. He sent me back to the receptionist and the receptionist sent me back to the doctor. They were treating me like a ball tossing me from one side to the next,” she added.

Arends said that when she decided to take a photo of the doctor as well as the receptionist after they had refused to identify themselves she was shoved into the unknown doctor’s office. “The five security guards with the doctor fought with me for the phone and it turned into struggle for the phone. I didn’t want to give them my phone because I needed to have proof when I report this to management.”

Arends said she was locked in the office for an hour as the security and the doctor refused her to leave before deleting the photos. A distraught Arends said she eventually deleted the photo’s after attempts to reason with the security guards failed. “I couldnand#039;t believe they would treat me like this. I am a care giver. I explained what my intention was and I was still subjected to this behaviour.”

Arends said she was still traumatised days after the altercation and she had contacted her lawyer who would be following up the case.

Eastern Cape Department of Health Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said they had not heard of the complaint yet. “Complaints of this nature should be reported to the hospital CEO and to the toll free numer 0800 032 364,” said Kupelo.

We Care Project Initiative is a community development and support project that develops, empowers and provides aid to underprivileged communities in the Northern Areas.

Arends currently houses and cares for seven elderly woman who are regular patients at Livingstone hospital

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