POLOKWANE – Gestern Tshimendze was admitted to the hospital in September.
His niece, who opted to remain anonymous, told BONUS it was heart-breaking to see her uncle in the state he was whenever they visited him. She claimed Tshimendze had visible bruises around his mouth and on his forehead when they visited him at the hospital a few weeks ago.
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“My uncle used to cry and complain to us every time we visited him. He said that he had been manhandled by staff every time he soiled his bed.”
She explained her uncle was not given the necessary pads for his incontinence, and that was the reason for the soiling. “Nurses didn’t take him to the bathroom, while he needed assistance in this regard, so what other choice did he have?” she asked.
“It’s very painful to visit one of your family members at hospital only to find they’re not being cared for like one would expect at a hospital.
“He would tell us he does not want to be at the hospital any longer because he was afraid he might die, not from his illness, but from the domestic violence from the nurses,” the niece said.
She explained that they visited Tshimendze on 30 October, to be told by the nurses that his being discharged and could go home.
“When we heard the good news, we made plans for transport to take him home.”
What happened next left the family in a state of shock.
“We returned to the hospital around 15:00, and there seemed to be a hold-up as nurses told us my uncle first had to be assessed by a doctor.”
The family waited for what seemed hours in the reception area, only to eventually be told to return the next day.
On their way to the hospital the next day, the family received a phone call from the hospital, informing them that Tshimedze had died.
“By the time we got to the hospital, people from a funeral parlour were already busy. We didn’t even have time to say our goodbyes.
BONUS contacted Health Spokesperson Neil Shikwanbana for comment. He ascribed Tshimendze’s bruising, swollen lips and forehead to him being “a difficult patient”.
“It occurred because nurses were trying to restrain him from getting out of his bed. The patient had a few issues among which that he did not want to be at the hospital. He also refused to eat, so he fought a lot with the nurses when they restrained him while trying to feed him,” Shikwambana added.