Sello Sebopela reportedly died at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital last month, but his family claim they were only informed this week. Picture: Supplied
Sello Sebopela reportedly died at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital last month, but his family claim they were only informed this week. Picture: Supplied

George Mukhari hospital forgot to tell family loved one died

By Sakhile Ndlazi Time of article published Aug 13, 2020

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Pretoria - A family from Soshanguve is calling for action against Dr George Mukhari Hospital Academic Hospital for informing them nearly a month later that their loved one had died.

The deceased's brother, Donald Sebopela, said the hospital gave them the runaround before admitting on Tuesday that 32-year-old Sello Sebopela had died last month.

Donald recalled how he had to rush his brother to the hospital on July 13 as there were no ambulances available. He said his brother had been sick for a while, and on that Monday his condition deteriorated.

“He was hysterical and needed urgent medical assistance. His medication was also not helping, so we tried calling an ambulance, but unfortunately they were not available at the hospital.”

After an alternative plan was made, Sello was rushed to the hospital. Upon arrival, the hospital was packed to the rafters, he said. Sello was given a drip to stabilise him and only admitted two days later.

“I understood the fact the hospital was full, especially during the pandemic. We took what we could get and waited for days until he was admitted. I even slept there.”

When Donald left the hospital he was told that his brother needed to see a physician before being transferred to ward 36.

Because of Covid-19 regulations restricting visitors at hospitals during lockdown, Donald took contact details for the ward so he could check on his brother until he was discharged. However, when he checked two days later, he was told his brother was not in that ward and had never been, according to their records.

“I also have a friend who works at the hospital. I asked him to enquire and check for me in other wards, but he couldn’t find him,” he said.

Days went by with the family calling the hospital daily to ask about Sello, but according to them they were given the runaround. Donald said not hearing any news about her son was making their mother ill. When Donald went to the hospital, he was told about the pandemic regulations and that the staff would try to locate his brother and contact him.

“They (staff) seemed somewhat assuring and so I left. They said due to hospital renovations and the pandemic, coupled with a shortage of staff members, the hospital was chaotic.”

It was not until Tuesday this week that Donald went back, this time angry and demanding answers.

Nurses finally broke the disturbing news to him. He said they told him that his brother had died on July 16, but because the hospital was so busy and undergoing renovations, as well as dealing with the pandemic, they had forgotten to inform the family. However, when the family went to the hospital yesterday the date of death was recorded as July 15, according to Donald.

The Gauteng Department of Health initially referred the Pretoria News to the hospital. Department spokesperson Kwara Kekana later said they would comment once a report had been received from the hospital.

*For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za

Pretoria News

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