Patients wait to be attended to at Mamelodi Hospital. Picture: Sakhile Ndlazi.

Pretoria - The recent case of a harrowing video showing Martha Marais, 76, chained underneath a Mamelodi Hospital bench has raised important questions about the challenges facing hospitals. 

South African Human Rights Commission Gauteng manager Buang Jones, along with other officials conducted a walk-about, engaging with patients and staff. 

Together with hospital officials, they snaked around the overcrowded hospital. 

Jones also went to the bench where Marais was chained and tried to make sense of it.

"I get shivers just looking at the benches. But let’s not delve too much into it. We will settle it legally,” he told the staff.

The Provincial Manager of the South African Human Rights Commission, Buang Jones, on the bench were Martha Marais was chained at Mamelodi Day Hospital. Video: Sakhile Ndlazi.

The commission’s investigation seeks to examine a number of factors, including the quality and access to healthcare services for vulnerable groups, human resources, physical infrastructure and equipment at the hospital.

Overcrowding and poor hospital design which includes aging infrastructure were some of the chief problems that staff complained about. 

Others problems include a shortage of ARVs and inhumane treatment. 

The hospital caters for patients from Mamelodi, Nellmapius, Eersterust, East Lynne, Cullinan, Pretoria East, Nkangala and Bronkhorstspruit.

This is seen as a function of mismatch between service demand and supply, and inefficient patient flow through hospital beds.

Patients also complained about the lackluster patient care from the nurses and doctors. 

An elderly patient who had been waiting in the corridor for hours on end after injuring her knee said staff members were impatient and verbally abusive.

“They would ask you questions like: what were you doing in the first place for you to injury your knee? Next time just sit and lie it out on a bed at home to avoid such problems,” she said.

The SAHRC is currently helping the Marais family with a lawsuit. 

More recently, another doctor has been implicated in addition to the two doctors, nurse and security guard that were implicated first. 

They were placed on special leave pending an investigation. 

This brings the tally to five staff members.

Pretoria News