Mamelodi Hospital: Out-of-court settlement reached with woman who was tied to hospital bench - govt

2019-10-22 14:50
Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize addresses the media during his visit at the Mamelodi Hospital after a video went viral of an elderly woman being mistreated by staff members. (Deaan Viver, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize addresses the media during his visit at the Mamelodi Hospital after a video went viral of an elderly woman being mistreated by staff members. (Deaan Viver, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

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Almost five months after an ill 76-year-old Martha Marais made headlines after she was tied to a Mamelodi Hospital bench, an out-of-court settlement with the Gauteng health department has been reached.

Department spokesperson Philani Mhlungu confirmed that a mediation process the department entered into with the family to try to resolve the matter outside of court was concluded.

"The parties have reached a settlement and the matter has been finalised," Mhlungu said, adding that he could not disclose further details.

The mediation, which started on September 20, was chaired by a retired judge.

READ | 'I was so hungry and thirsty' – 76-year-old woman on being tied to hospital's bench overnight

In May this year, Marais was restrained under a bench and left to lie on a floor for several hours after arriving at the hospital for medical treatment.

When the family found her, she was hungry and dehydrated.

At the time, family spokesperson Virginia Keppler said Marais was not a violent person and in the event that she had had a psychotic episode, she was so old and fragile that she couldn't do any harm.

She added that Marais was heavily traumatised: "She keeps on repeating herself about what happened to her and how she was tied up..."

In June, they said they would be pursuing civil litigation.

The SA Human Rights Commission also said it would seek redress for the victim and compensation.

Investigation

Newly appointed Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku, and Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize also intervened and an investigation was carried out.

In June, four staffers who had been implicated in the incident were put on special leave as the investigation continued.

ALSO READ | 4 Mamelodi Hospital staffers implicated in tying 76-year-old to bench - MEC

Mhlungu told News24 that the investigation has since been concluded and that one nurse and doctors who were initially implicated have been exonerated.

However, charges have been brought against another nurse and medical officers.

"This matter is still pending and once the implicated staff members have responded to the charges brought against them, the department will determine the way forward as well as the cause of action to be implemented," Mhlungu said.

Criminal case

The family also opened a criminal case against the hospital because they believed those responsible for the incident should be held accountable.

"We want people to go to jail, someone must take responsibility, there [are] people being identified. The MEC has indicated that as the investigations develop, there might be more people implicated...," Keppler told News24 at the time.

ALSO READ | Family of Martha Marais who was tied to bench lay assault charges

Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo confirmed that the family had opened a criminal case and said the docket was sent to court for a decision on whether to prosecute.

News24 has approached the National Prosecuting Authority for comment on the matter, which will be added once received

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  healthcare  |  courts
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