What does R90 000 get you at Netcare Olivedale Hospital?
For Nhlanhla Gumede, it was being moved around to different wards with no explanation, dealing with “rude” nurses and fed dry bread and tea.
Gumede was admitted to the Olivedale high care unit for pneumonia caused by Covid-19 on June 11. This, after waiting for two hours and not finding a bed at either the Netcare Sandton and Fourways hospitals.
Jacques du Plessis, managing director of Netcare’s Hospital division, said: “Although we have experienced a significant increase in demand for the treatment of Covid-19 patients over the past few weeks, especially in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and in KwaZulu-Natal, we can confirm that our hospitals in all provinces have capacity to treat Covid-19 and other patients. The number of beds available for Covid-19 patients varies from day to day, and also depends on the level of treatment the patients require.”
Gumede said once he was finally admitted to Olivedale, he was placed in a leukaemia ward where he was “treated badly” by the nurses.
Gumede said because he was hooked up to a lot of machines, he needed assistance from them to when he needed to go and relieve himself.’
This, he said, was a source of irritation for them because they would have to wear their full personal protective equipment before helping him. Three days after being admitted, he was moved to a new ward. He spent a few hours there before being moved again to another ward. This ward, Gumede said, had construction work going on.
“How am I as a patient be uprooted from one ward to the other without proper communication?” he said.
Gumede said because electrical points were still not switched on because of the construction, nurses left him on his bed without hooking him up to machines. He was only hooked up to machines four hours later.
“The hospital has more than one fully-operational and fully-equipped Covid-19 ward. Mr Gumede was initially accommodated in a three-bed Covid-19 high-care ward, but was later moved to the main Covid-19 high-care ward. Such moves may take place to optimise deployment of nursing and other service staff,” hospital manager Linda Bhagaloo said.
She said there has been no major construction at the hospital since November 2019. “We do, however, continue to do regular maintenance. We are not sure if the maintenance team might have been called to the unit at the time for maintenance work as neither the technical team nor the unit manager can recall the need for maintenance work during the period of Mr Gumede’s admission.”
The worst thing about his hospital stay, Gumede who is diabetic, said was the food.
“The food was the worst. They give you small potions that should be for a child. They gave me two slices of dry bread with tea. I lost 5kg in the week that I spent in hospital.”
Bhagaloo said: “Brown bread was served to Mr Gumede together with his meal, and was strictly as per the special diet which is specific to his health condition.”
She said she had been in contact with Gumede to discuss his unhappy stay at their facility. Gumede confirmed the hospital apologised to him.
His seven-day stay in hospital cost R90 000.
“The issue is that people think they will get better value from the private sector, but they are just profiting from Covid-19. Of course medical aid paid the bill, but the way one was treated isn’t on a par with what I was billed. Netcare just doesn’t care,” Gumede said.