Rowena Hawkey Picture: Supplied
Rowena Hawkey Picture: Supplied

Woman screaming for help in Durban hospital viral video has died

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jan 12, 2021

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DURBAN – A woman seen screaming for help in a viral video filmed at a Durban hospital has died. Her family have since confirmed that they are seeking legal advice on how to handle the matter.

Rowena Hawkey, 69, was admitted to the Wentworth Hospital last week after she encountered breathing problems and her asthma pump was of no help.

Hawkey's nephew, Allon Pretorius, said Hawkey's daughter, Teresa, left her at the hospital after she was admitted and did not hear from the hospital again.

He said Hawkey died on January 6, shortly after the video was recorded.

"Teresa only found out that she had passed when she went to visit on Friday. The family was informed on Saturday morning," he said.

Pretorius said Hawkey lived in Berea with her daughter.

The video of Hawkey screaming that she could not breathe went viral on social media.

"I can't breathe! Please get me out of here! Please get me out of here! I'm gonna die like this," the woman screams. She beckons to someone to help her and he responds that he cannot move.

"I've asked everybody to help me. Nobody wants to help me. I can't live like this," Hawkey shouts. At least four other patients are inside the room, two are lying on the floor and a third appears to be asleep. The fourth is the person recording the video.

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu confirmed that an investigation had been launched after her office was made aware of the video.

"On that day, 11 doctors were in isolation after they tested positive and 17 nurses were off due to Covid-19. Furthermore, six nurses were in charge of the Accidents and Emergency Unit, as well as a short-stay ward with very sick patients," she said.

She added that they would be making changes at the hospital to make the necessary accommodations, which included shifting the hospital's Accident and Emergency Unit to make space for beds and patients who were recovering from Covid-19, who would be sent to Clairwood Hospita,l while those who needed oxygen would be sent to isolation.


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