Hospital abuse: Family of Martha Marais who was tied to bench lay assault charges

2019-05-31 18:23
A woman was bound to a chair and forced to lie on the ground. (Twitter)

A woman was bound to a chair and forced to lie on the ground. (Twitter)

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The family of 76-year-old Martha Marais have laid assault charges against the Mamelodi Hospital in Pretoria after she was restrained under a bench and left to lie on a floor earlier this week. 

Her daughter, Stephnie Marais told News24 that when she arrived at the hospital on Wednesday evening, she found her mother lying under the bench, with her hands tied to it.

"[Hospital staff] did not care about her. They just left her there," she claimed.

"She was so hungry and dehydrated. They couldn't even apologise for what they did to my mother."

READ: 'She is worse off than before' - daughter of 76-year-old tied to hospital bench

On Friday afternoon Stephnie and other relatives laid a charge of assault against the hospital. 

Speaking to the media at the Mamelodi East Police Station, family spokesperson Viginia Keppler said the family still have not been told why Marais was restrained. 

Keppler said Marais was not a violent person and even in the event that she had had a psychotic episode, she was so old and fragile that she could do no harm. 

No person should be tied up and left on the floor in that manner, she said. 

Keppler told media that the night staff at the hospital told family member that they did not know why Marais was tied up and that it was the day staff who had took the decision to restrain her. 

She added that it was imperative that police investigate who had given the order to tie Marais up and that those responsible should be punished for their actions. 

Since the incident, Marais - who is normally a talkative person - has become very quiet, barely saying a word to anyone. 

"We are very worried because she is traumatised"

"When we visited her last night she [was] very quiet," said Keppler. 

"We are very worried because she is traumatised. She doesn't want to be at Mamelodi [hospital] any more, the family wants her to be transferred to Steve Biko Academic Hospital. 

"We are worried about her condition."

Earlier on Friday, News24 visited the hospital, where it was business at usual. 

Several visitors and patients had no idea what had transpired two days earlier.

They told News24 that they were just going about their day.

One person, who did not want to be named, said he had visited the hospital throughout the week and his experience had been extremely positive, adding that the incident was probably an isolated one.

Linneth Mashele, 56, who was at the hospital to have X-rays taken of her back, said she was frightened to visit the hospital after hearing about the incident.

mamelodi hospital

"A hospital is supposed to take care of us, I'm not feeling good about being here. I am now scared to come here," Mashele told News24 on Friday.

Jan Klaaste, 63, visited the hospital on Friday to pick up medication for a lung infection. He was also worried that he might be poorly treated.

News24 previously reported that since the incident, the provincial and national health departments have banned staff members implicated, from having any interaction with patients.

This decision was taken after an initial investigation into the incident, which the department described as brutal.

READ MORE: Woman tied to hospital chair – staff banned from interacting with patients after 'brutal' pictures go viral

"At face value, it appears that the patient was ill-treated, and the standard operating procedure was not followed to the letter," newly appointed Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a joint statement.

"Both the minister and the MEC have instructed that a full investigation be carried out and that officials who were involved in this incident should not be allowed to interact with patients. Consequence management should be implemented with immediate effect."

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