Khayelitsha District Hospital patient pictured laying on the ground due to a shortage of beds.
Khayelitsha District Hospital patient pictured laying on the ground due to a shortage of beds.

Patient details Khayelitsha hospital nightmare

By Odwa Mkentane Time of article published Jan 14, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - “I had slept on the floor since Saturday night. It was only yesterday (Wednesday) that I got a bed to sleep on. My body is in pain and my feet are swollen.”

Those are the words of a Khayelitsha District Hospital (KDH) patient, who was admitted to the Asthma Room on Saturday night, but due to a shortage of beds, had to sleep on the floor.

Following the Cape Times’ story on Thursday highlighting the conditions at the hospital that led to the elderly being ventilated while laying on the floor, the patient said the elderly were suffering while receiving treatment.

“I got sick on Saturday night and we called an ambulance.

“Bad service started at the ambulance, they would not allow my brother to accompany me to the hospital due to Covid-19 protocols.

“I had to open a folder by myself even though I was sick.

“After that, I was then taken to the trauma section with people who had different sicknesses.

“I was there from 11pm, the doctor only came to see me around 3am to 4am.

“After seeing the doctor, I slept but I was then taken to the section for people with asthma, and that is when I realised that they do not care,” said the woman.

The source has urged the National Department of Health to inspect the conditions at the hospital.

“We have been sleeping on the floor for days, with elderly people who are over 60 and 65 years old.

“Bear in mind that the room we were in is meant for only eight people, but we were more than 25.

“Imagine you’re sitting on a chair the whole day, your feet get swollen.

“We were with people who had blood on their bodies, and you can see that they needed emergency help.

“They say that there is a shortage of beds, people are dying here and some come here in a good mental state.

“But as days go by you can see that they are not good at all.

A staff member who spoke on condition that they remain anonymous out of fear of reprisals, on Wednesday told the Cape Times that the issue of patients sleeping on the floor started when Mfuleni patients, who used to be assisted in Eerste River, were redirected to be assisted in Khayelitsha.

Spokesperson for the province’s Khayelitsha Eastern Sub-Structure, Abulele Dyasi, said that in 2016, a decision to alleviate pressure in Eerste River Hospital was made, and the KDH remained under severe pressure due to the continued increase in patient intake.

“The hospital mainly sees patients from Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, and neighboring areas.

“As part of this process, some of the Mfuleni patients were moved from Eerste River Hospital to Khayelitsha District Hospital.

“The hospital was originally designed as a 300-bed hospital but due to population growth, additional space had to be created to accommodate more patients.

“The hospital remains under severe pressure due to the continued increase in patient intake, including mental health patients,”said Dyasi.

Dyasi said the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as alcohol and substance abuse, contributed to an increase in the number of patients requiring mental health services.

“At present Khayelitsha Hospital has more than 100 mental care patients which require additional staffing.

“The mental health pressure is not unique to Khayelitsha Hospital and is a known challenge for all hospitals across the province and country,” she said.

Cape Times

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