Province investigates allegations

A resident has accused the Middelburg Hospital of playing Russian Roulette with patient's health.

The Mpumalanga Department of Health has launched an investigation into Ms Debbie Breytenbach’s complaint regarding her stay in the hospital she describes as dirty and dilapidated.

Ms Breytenbach says she was placed on the diabetic food list without any salt, despite her sugar levels and blood pressure dropping to dangerous lows because of the mistake.

Even after complaining, she was told that she was not staying in a hotel and that she should starve if she didn’t want to eat the food provided her.

She was admitted to hospital on January 3 with three prolapsed vertebrae, and an MRI scan needed to be done “to get a better picture of the injury”.

Due to budget cuts, the hospital was unable to do the scan, and Ms Breytenbach was told to seek help at a private radiologist, at a cost of R15 000.”I told the doctor that I simply do not have that kind of cash, and was told that the hospital would not be able to do anything for me,” Ms Breytenbach told the Observer.

Ms Breytenbach says Tramadol and Omnopon was prescribed for pain every eight hours, but that hospital staff failed to administer the medicines as prescribed.

She only received two Ponado’s every eight hours for unbearable pain, she often complained about.

“The only good thing the ‘so called doctor’ did was to send a physiotherapist, who told me that I needed a back brace immediately, which she later obtained for me herself, since I didn’t have R800 to splurge on the medical necessity,” Ms Breytenbach says.

The physio was however replaced.

“I complained regularly that I was Type 2 diabetic and therefore didn’t need any special dietary requirements, but was told to eat the food provided or starve,” Ms Breytenbach complains.

After complaining about the diet again, the “diabetic slop,” was taken away from her and later consumed by a kitchen help, who allegedly wanted to slap Ms Breytenbach’s phone from her hand when the latter tried to video her consuming her meal.

Ms Breytenbach was only served again the next morning.

“They treated me for diabetes and blood pressure, which I explained was well controlled by myself, but failed to treat me for the reason I was admitted, this hospital is going from bad to worse at a rapid pace,” Ms Breytenbach says.

Ms Breytenbach then decided that she had had enough of the maltreatment and started packing her bags, refusing to sign herself out, in order to bring her complaint to management’s attention.

A friend of hers was however coerced into signing Ms Breytenbach out by hospital security.

After her release, after five days, she submitted her complaint to the department in writing.

The Provincial Quality Assurance Directorate has confirmed receipt of the complaint and an investigation into the matter has been launched.

Ms Breytenbach said on Monday that she is yet to receive the report from the Quality Assurance Directorate.

Gerhard Rheeder

I have been a journalist for two decades, with numerous awards to my credit, both in photography and writing. A brief stint as researcher in the opposition offices of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, honed my skills as specialist local government reporter, covering crime and courts.
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