A 76-year-old woman is worse off after she was restrained underneath a hospital bench at Mamelodi Hospital in Pretoria on Wednesday evening, her daughter says.
Martha Marais was admitted to hospital on Tuesday afternoon after she became ill two days before. According to her daughter, Stephnie Marais, she had been vomiting.
"We took her to Eersterust Clinic on Tuesday, and they told us that she would need to get treated at the hospital in Mamelodi. The ambulance then picked her up and took her."
Stephnie told News24 that her mother wasn't allocated a bed at the hospital until the next day.
"When we got there Wednesday evening, I found my mother laying under the benches with a tie around her wrists. [Hospital staff] did not care about her. They just left her there," she said.
"She was so hungry and dehydrated. They couldn't even apologise for what they did to my mother."
According to Stephnie, her mother's belongings and bed sheets were all over the room she was initially given before she was tied up.
"Some of her stuff was lying under other people's beds. Her blankets were given to another patient."
The daughter of the 76-year-old wants to know why her mother was put through this ordeal.
"At this point, she is worse off than before. She really isn't doing too well, but I was told that she was transferred to a ward to be looked after there."
The provincial and national health departments have banned staff involved in the incident from having any interaction with patients.
The directive follows an initial investigation on Thursday into the incident, which the department described as "brutal".
"At face value, it appears that the patient was ill-treated and the standard operating procedure was not followed to the letter," new 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 the patients. Consequence management should be implemented with immediate effect."
The ministry added that sub-standard care would not be tolerated.