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‘My mom, 80, queued for 4 hours’

Cape Town - An 80-year-old woman who suffered a heart attack was allegedly forced to wait in a queue for four hours before she received treatment, her son claims.

Michael Hoffmeester of Bishop Lavis, took his mother Dorothy to the trauma unit of the Elsies River community health centre early on Saturday.

Michael Hoffmeester says that his mother, Dorothy Hoffmeester, 80, was only attended to after 4 hours at the Elsies River Day Hospital, despite the fact that she had suffered a heart attack. Picture: David Ritchie. Credit: INLSA

Hoffmeester claims that despite his mother’s severe chest pain and shortness of breath - classical symptoms of a heart attack - she was told to join the queue and wait for the only doctor on duty.

He has accused the facility of providing “substandard” services.

Mark van der Heever, spokesman for the provincial Department of Health, said the elderly woman had been seen by a doctor within 20 minutes of being admitted.

But Hoffmeester insisted that his mother was only seen at 9am, after getting to the facility just before 5am.

The doctor who examined her confirmed that she had suffered a heart attack. She has since been transferred to Tygerberg Hospital.

“My mother sat there moaning and groaning with severe pain, but no one even bothered to check. She was so sick she couldn’t even walk from our car. I had to put her on a wheelchair,” he said.

Hoffmeester blamed the bad service on a lack of staff.

Van der Heever admitted there was only one doctor. A doctor recruited from a locum agency had cancelled on short notice, he said.

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