Patient ‘starved’

2017-08-29 06:00
Nashitah Saal wants answers from hospital management as she says her cousin was forced to go hungry at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Nashitah Saal wants answers from hospital management as she says her cousin was forced to go hungry at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

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The provincial health department has denied allegations that staff of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital made a young patient from Athlone go hungry.

The hospital has been accused of negligence after staff members allegedly refused to give a 12-year-old boy food for longer than a day while he was waiting to be operated on because his operation was rescheduled several times.

The accusation spread after the patient’s cousin, Nashitah Saal from Hanover Park, vented her frustration on social media after finding the boy crying from hunger and not attended to after being admitted to the hospital the previous day. The boy was reportedly waiting to undergo an arm operation due to injuries.

Darren Francis, spokesperson of the provincial health department, confirms that the boy was admitted to the hospital and says he was given apple juice and meals on specific occasions.

In her social media post Saal claims she visited the boy on Tuesday 15 August at 19:00 and found him not operated on and starving. She says she tried to get an explanation from the staff on duty with no luck and that was when she got frustrated.

“We have been made aware of a social media post about a 12-year-old patient who was allegedly left starving. The allegations made by the ‘aunt’ are unsubstantiated. The department has investigated the allegations and have found that the patient was presented to Red Cross on [Monday 14 August] for a non-life-threatening procedure which was performed at 11:00 on [Wednesday 16 August]. He was discharged the following day,” says Francis.

“The patient remained on the theatre list and as such could not eat as it can complicate surgery. The surgeon performing the surgery on the patient counselled the mother of the patient and informed her about the wait. The physician allowed the patient to have apple juice and a full meal on separate occasions whilst waiting to go to ­theatre.”

Since other children needed lifesaving surgery, doctors could not operate on the boy as scheduled, he says.

“Due to the large number of surgeries and children needing care, our teams need to prioritise and attend to those who need lifesaving interventions.”

He says as part of ongoing care, the hospital reached out to the family and to address the issue.

Saal tells People’s Post: “My complaint is that he was told that he had to go without food because he was scheduled for an operation and ended up going without food for 27 hours. When they finally said he could eat at 23:30 he could not keep anything in. They had to put him on a drip.”

V Readers who have concerns about treatment received at hospitals should contact the unit manager or lodge a formal complaint through the complaints hotline on 0860 142 142, send a please call me to 079 769 1207 or email service@­


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