Concerned patients say that the the LTT Memorial Hospital has become a hospital of bad treatment.
Hospitals are places where people seek comfort, hope, and healing when they are sick – but this becomes an ironic tragedy when their physical pain is compounded by mental anguish because of the bad treatment some apparently get from unsympathetic medical professionals.
A resident of Tshirolwe village in the Nzhelele area, Ms Sophie Magadani (65), was recently admitted to LTT Memorial Hospital. According to Magadani's family, the treatment she got was not what would be expected from such a facility.
“She fell off the bed after the nurse failed to lock its wheels, and she was then assisted by another patient after her crying for help fell on deaf ears,” said Magadani's son, Tshifhiwa Magadani. “I learnt from other patients that while all this was happening, the nurses were sleeping and didn't want to be disturbed.”
He indicated that when tte nurses finally did come over to her bed, they harshly insulted her. Magadani added that the hospital's x-ray scanner has not worked for a period of three months now and that this is adversely affecting patients.
“Even when we visited my mother during her stay in the hospital, the linen on her bed was always dirty. The floor and bedside locker were also not clean, and rotting from decay and negligence,” he said. “An empty, dirty drip bag that had held blood for transfusion lay on the floor long after it was removed from her body, and nobody bothered to dispose of it. We even took some pictures with our mobile phones because we were not happy with the state of the ward she was housed in.”
Ms Magadani was eventually discharged. However, she went to LTT Memorial Hospital for a routine check-up on 28 June, but she was turned away on the basis that she was from Nzhelele and not Louis Trichardt. She was very disappointed by the way everything transpired.
“They said that she should go to Siloam Hospital, even though she had been admitted to LLT Memorial and her doctor was based there,” said Magadani. “I feel that this shabby treatment towards our people must come to a stop. While there are very good nurses and doctors there, some are just there to fill up the posts.”
He stated that, on that very day, he witnessed a scenario where an elderly man ended up in a tussle with a nurse after he complained that he couldn't afford to be turned back twice without receiving any attention. “The seemingly possessed nurse wanted to hit the patient but was restrained by other officials,” he said. “Patients wait for a doctor the whole day, only to be finally turned away because the doctor has not arrived due to other commitments, even though they are visibly very sick.”
“It is reported that 37 000 posts are vacant in South Africa's hospitals, health centres and clinics, and Limpopo tops the list,” he said. “My plea to MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba is for her office to consider appointing a task team to have the Hawks investigate Nkhensani Hospital, Siloam, and Memorial respectively. All these hospitals are in a shabby state, and I know what I am talking about as I have visited them.”
The Department of Health's spokesperson, Mr Neil Shikwambana, said that the concerned family and patient should approach the clinical manager or the chief executive officer with their concerns. “No patient or family members of the patient should keep quiet when they are unfairly treated,” he said. “They should take their grievance up with the chief executive officer in the hospital. If they still feel not satisfied, they must approach the district manager's office.”