Elderly asthmatic patient dies outside Ekurhuleni clinic waiting to see doctor

Picture: Public Domain Pictures

Picture: Public Domain Pictures

Published Aug 13, 2020


Johannesburg - Asthmatic patient Kathrina Tsotetsi drew her last breath outside a clinic as her son waited for his mother's turn to see a doctor.

For almost an hour, Elliot patiently waited outside the Phuthanang Clinic in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni, while his mother was struggling to breathe as she sat in his car parked outside the clinic.

The next time Elliot saw his mother, about an hour later, she was lifeless on the seat of his car.

Tsotetsi had gone to the clinic for a routine check-up on Tuesday as per her doctor’s advice on her referral letter from Pholosong Hospital.

“My mother had been discharged from the hospital two weeks ago, where she was referred by the clinic. She was then due for a medical check-up on Tuesday,” said Elliot.

They had arrived at the clinic at 11am and were told to wait outside in the queue and that they would be attended to, but this did not happen, he said.

“An hour went by and my mother’s condition kept on getting worse. Moments later, I realised that she was not blinking or moving and that is when I realised she was no more,” he said.

Elliot said that after hearing a commotion outside, a clinic staff member came out.

“My mother died in my car outside a place where she was supposed to get help. I am appalled by what happened.

"It would've been better if they had taken her in and she died inside, at least we'd say they tried all they could to assist her, but unfortunately they did nothing. They even refused to get an ambulance. They insisted I drive her to hospital. They didn't want to take responsibility,” Elliot said.

A video showing Tsotetsi’s body slouched in the car's front seat while people walked by, her family member crying next to the vehicle, was circulated on Twitter. Some people could be heard saying “this granny is no more”.

Elliot was forced to drive the body of his mother to Pholosong Hospital, 4km away.

“Her head was facing one direction. I could see that she was no more but I kept convincing myself that she was still alive and would get help. Everything happened fast. It was just a horrific experience. At the hospital they declared her dead,” he said.

“No one wants to take accountability for our loss. I did everything I could but unfortunately our health system failed us. The family is devastated. Our mother was everything to us. I guess we will come to terms with her death as time goes on.”

Gauteng Health Department referred questions to Ekurhuleni Municipality, which was in charge of the clinic.

Ekurhuleni spokesperson Themba Gadebe dismissed the allegations, saying the patient was attended to. He said they had visited the family of the deceased to get further details.

“As a caring government, we affirm that no patient must be turned away from our health facilities. We believe that a full investigation process will provide us with the much-required light.”

The Star

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