Gauteng health dept settles with family of Martha Marais who was tied to Mamelodi Hospital bench

Martha Marais. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Martha Marais. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

The Gauteng Department of Health has reached an undisclosed settlement with Martha Marais' family after she was tied to a bench in the waiting area of Mamelodi Hospital last year, the MEC's office said on Sunday.

"Once more, I wish to extend our sincerest apologies to Ms Marais and her family for the trauma they have suffered," said MEC Bandile Masuku in a statement.

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

"The Department has a responsibility to ensure that this does not happen again. It is now time to allow the Marais family to heal and move on with their lives."

The settlement was reached with the help of the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and facilitated by retired judge Neels Claasen of the SA Medico Legal Association.

"Due to confidentiality requirements of the mediation, the parties to the matter will not disclose the terms of settlement. Both parties believe that the settlement is comprehensive and fair enough as it includes redress and improvements of our protocols at facility level."

The department said it had learnt that mediation could be a successful way of resolving claims against the department.

In May 2019, Marais was tied to a bench at the hospital. A security guard, two doctors and a nurse were placed on special leave following the release of shocking footage of her situation. 

In the video clip, Marais can be seen on the floor, tied to a bench, with her hands behind her back.

A security guard is seen standing next to her, and her daughter Stephnie Marais is screaming and asking the guard why they are treating her mother like that.

The SAHRC was told that Mrs Marais was tied up because she was confused, but her treatment also exposed the shortage of adequate facilities in the casualty department.

The department said a five-year planning process is nearing completion and resources are being prioritised to improve patients' experience of care in our facilities.

A family spokesperson Virginia Keppler told eNCA that Mrs Marais speaks less and less of the incident, but is doing better. 

She had also received counselling. 

However, they intend finding out why nothing has come of the assault complaint they laid at the police.

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