Patient films alleged mistreatment of bedridden women in government hospital

2017-11-08 22:06


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Durban – A video showing a KwaZulu-Natal nurse allegedly mistreating a patient at the Saint Mary's Hospital in Mariannhill has been condemned by the provincial department of health.

"The KZN department of health strongly condemns the alleged conduct of a staff nurse from St Mary's Hospital, which if true, would be in violation of the code of conduct of healthcare professionals," the department said in a statement on Wednesday.

In the video, which was allegedly taken on Monday, the nurse implores the bedridden patient, who has since died, to sit up.

The patient had an adult diaper that needed to be changed. The nurse calls on the woman to, as a mother, not lay back and let people do things for her.

The department said the conduct of the nurse was unbecoming.

"In the video, the nurse appears to be addressing the patient in a manner that does not convey empathy. The nurse also appears to be changing the patient's nappy without drawing the bedside curtains to maintain the privacy of the patient".

A 30-year-old woman from KwaZulu-Natal says she had tears in her eyes while filming her fellow patient being mistreated by a nurse.

But she did so in the hope that it will bring about change in the way patients are treated in Government hospitals.

The woman, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, confirmed that the incident happened at the Saint Mary's Hospital in Marianhill on Monday.

She posted the video to social media and it has since garnered more than 700 000 views.

"Why ridicule her in front of everybody? What happened to humanity?"

"I don’t want anyone to get in trouble, I just want them to change their attitudes. They should get training on how to treat patients."

The woman seen in the video passed away at roughly 02:00 on Tuesday morning, but her body was only removed at 06:00, the woman said.

"I will never forget those images or the sounds she was making. She was struggling, but still fighting."

She said the woman was foaming from her nose and mouth, but was offered very little assistance throughout the night.

"I doubt that she would have passed if they had taken better care of her. That’s the truth."

She said was extremely traumatised by what she had seen.

"Once the lights go off, it all comes flooding back."

"This has to stop," she said.

"It happens to black people who are disadvantaged because we can’t afford better care. Government keeps failing us."

'How many more lives have to be lost?'

The woman told News24 she was admitted to the hospital on October 29th and discharged herself on Tuesday morning – after the woman’s death. She is thought to be suffering from meningitis but is still waiting on the results of her blood work.

"I’ve been asked to take the video down. But I’m standing firm. How many more lives have to be lost?"

She said she was keeping a low profile since posting the video because she was truly scared.

Some social media users have since come out in defence of the nurse’s behaviour, saying she was only trying to motivate the patient. Others have resorted to threatening the 30-year-old who posted the video.

The department said the nurse's conduct was contrary to the government's principles of Batho Pele and codes governing healthcare professionals.

"Management of St Mary's Hospital is dealing with this matter according to the Department of Health's disciplinary procedures".

Read more on:    durban  |  health

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