Johan van Zyl at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital. Picture: Supplied
Johan van Zyl at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital. Picture: Supplied

Family wants action after man allegedly ignored at hospital during second heart attack

By Goitsemang Tlhabye Time of article published Oct 8, 2021

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Pretoria - The family of an elderly man who was allegedly ignored by medical staff at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital whilst suffering a second heart attack are pleading for stern action to be taken against implicated staff members.

According to the family of retired nurse Johan van Zyl, 69, he had to be rushed to the Steve Biko Academic Hospital on September, 27 after he suffered a heart attack, but little did they know that getting to the hospital was only half the struggle of getting him medical help.

His wife, Connie van Zyl, said shortly after their arrival at the hospital her husband was taken to the Covid-19 ward which she thought nothing of it at first.

However, she started getting concerned when the second day rolled around and her husband had still not been attended to by a medical doctor and simply left to sit on a chair in the Covid-19 tent despite testing negative for the coronavirus.

She said she ended up having to beg the medical staff to attend to him to which they then transferred him to another ward on the 9th floor of the hospital.

PA member Virginia Keppler and the family of 69-year-old Johan van Zyl who was allegedly ignored by medical staff at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital. Picture: Supplied

Things however took a turn for the worst on Monday (October 4) as van Zyl started experiencing chest pain and difficulty breathing.

Despite being in pain, the wife said he attempted to ask one of the nurses on duty to help him as he believed he was about to experience a second heart attack, but he was ignored and simply told to get back in his bed.

"He told her that he might be having a second heart attack and she simply brushed him off and instructed him to go back to bed."

The wife said since being transferred to the Intensive Care Unit her husband was being treated much better however the family had been left traumatised by the treatment of staff at the hospital.

She said the family managed to meet with the hospital management on Thursday afternoon, with management apologising about the poor treatment received and promised to look into the matter promptly.

Patriotic Alliance member Virginia Keppler who raised alarms over the ill-treatment of patients seeking help at the hospital said they were happy that the hospital management had promised to investigate the matter, however, she stressed the need for the matter to be properly investigated.

Keppler said while they understood the constraints the hospital was facing due to shortages of staff and beds, they were most bothered about the prevailing negative and poor attitude of medical staff to patients in public facilities.

"We can't accept a simple excuse or sorry for him being turned away despite pleading for help that must be fully investigated by the hospital. Bad treatment at government facilities is something that keeps happening, it's disgusting and it has to stop."

Pretoria News

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