Hospital ‘refused’ to help

2017-11-14 06:00
Sarah Plaatjie’s friends hold onto her clothes. They blame Kensington Day Hospital for her death. From left are Mathilda Verlaat, Elizabeth van de Harte and Margareth Jansen.PHOTO: NOMZAMO YUKU

Sarah Plaatjie’s friends hold onto her clothes. They blame Kensington Day Hospital for her death. From left are Mathilda Verlaat, Elizabeth van de Harte and Margareth Jansen.PHOTO: NOMZAMO YUKU

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A 49-year-old resident of 6th Avenue in Kensington died on the street last week after she was allegedly turned away from the community day hospital.

Sarah Plaatjie reportedly complained of chest and stomach pain and a sore body when her friend Mathilda Verlaat took her to Kensington Day Hospital at around 11:00 on Tuesday. 

Verlaat claims that one of the nurses at the hospital refused to help them because Plaatjie did not have an ID. She was told to go sign an affidavit at the police station and come back the following day. 

“I begged that sister to come to the waiting room and see how serious Sarah was. At that moment Sarah was complaining of losing energy and could not stand on her own. I had been helping her all the way to the hospital and I was the one enquiring for her as she was too weak, but the nurse would not take me seriously and just told me it was already late, we must get the affidavit and come the next day. 

“We left while Sarah was complaining of tiredness. I held her throughout on the way. As we approached 9th Street she started shaking in my arms and she fell,” Verlaat says, crying.

“There was a guy who came to our rescue and I asked him to look after her as I went to look for water. I thought she had just collapsed,” she says.

She says Plaatjie was a healthy woman working as a domestic worker. She says Plaatjie started showing signs of being sick on Monday. 

She says she took her to Kensington Day Hospital because it was the nearest health facility and they did not expect to be disappointed there. 

“My heart is sore; Sarah could have been helped. She would not have died in the street like an animal. I am angry at the hospital, I hope authorities take the matter seriously,” Verlaat adds.

Resident Margareth Jansen, who cannot stop the tears while talking about her friend, says she has known Plaatjie for many years and she is devastated by the way she died. 

“She was so kind that she would give you her food. She did not deserve to die in the streets. We feel like she was considered less important because she came from the informal settlement. She was a human being; she deserved to die with dignity. Sarah was a mother and a daughter. Imagine how it is going to break her family to hear she died on the street because the hospital would not help her.”

Monique Johnstone, spokesperson of the health department, says Verlaat was at the hospital to enquire for Plaatjie but claims that they were not together.

“Our sincere condolences to the family of the deceased,” says Johnstone.

“We can confirm that the friend attended the facility alone and requested information and treatment for the friend. The friend was requested to bring the person who needed healthcare.”

No-one turned away“We do not turn patients away seeking healthcare as this goes against the department’s values,” says Johnstone.

“All clients in need of healthcare are encouraged to make use of our services and alert any healthcare official of their healthcare needs.”

Staff at the hospital told People’s Post that they do not treat patients without IDs and they advise them to bring affidavits.

They also say Verlaat was at the hospital alone and she was told to take her friend to the police station and bring her to the hospital with the affidavit.

Kensington police spokesperson Sergeant Angeline Gill says: “This office can confirm the death of a woman of the Kensington area on Tuesday at about 11:45. An inquest has been opened and is being investigated by detective Constable Angelo Vlotman.”

Plaatjie was originally from Cradock in the Eastern Cape and her friends need help to find her family.

V If you know the whereabouts of Sarah Plaatjie’s family call Mathilda Verlaat on 084 436 6607 or Margareth Jansen on 073 080 8422.

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