The Post received a lengthy complaint from Barry Bredenkamp regarding alleged poor service at the Bela-Bela (Warmbaths) hospital.
Bredenkamp stated that a young man had committed suicide in the early hours of Sunday, 24 September, at Bela-Bela.
Bredenkamp said that the man’s mother woke-up to the tragic news early on the Sunday morning and immediately became hysterical and eventually broke a glass and inflicted self-harm as a show of remorse.
“An ambulance was called and she was transported to the Warmbaths Hospital, where unbeknown to the family, she was diagnosed as suicidal and admitted as a mental health patient,” Bredenkamp said.
He said that when they arrived at Ward 5 where she was admitted, they discovered that she was placed in what can only be described as a “prison cell”.
He made mention of barred doors and windows, a blood-stained mattress and bedding as some of the contents within the alleged “cell”.
“We immediately advised the nurse in charge that we could not let her stay in those conditions and requested that under the circumstances and with the death of her son earlier that morning, that she be discharged and released into the care of her family,” he said.
Bredenkamp said the nurse called for a doctor on duty to address the family’s request.
“The most arrogant individual arrived at the ward and said he understood the family wanted the patient discharged, but ‘that was not going to happen, as she was admitted in terms of the Mental Health Act and that she needed to stay in the hospital for 72 hours,” he said.
Bredenkamp said that an argument ensued, as the conditions at the hospital were not conducive for a human being and that the patient was misdiagnosed.
“At that point, a certain very young doctor told the nurse to call security to remove the family from the hospital and to lock the patient behind the bars in the cell, with no toilet, water or even a working bell to call a nurse, should she need any of the amenities.”
Bredenkamp alleged that security guards arrived at the Ward to remove the family, whilst the nurse locked the patient in the ‘cell’.
He said that the concerned family eventually managed to talk to the guards and explained the circumstances to them.
“The majority of them left the ward and on engaging with the three remaining guards, they told us to pursue the immediate removal of the patient, as she would probably end up dying in that hospital. They told us that many patients die in that hospital and that many children are stolen,” Bredenkamp alleged.
He said that the family returned to collect the patient three days later, but were told that the patient had been transferred to a State Mental Hospital in Lebowakgomo. No reasons were allegedly given for this sudden shifting of the goal posts.
After a lengthy deliberation with hospital management Bredenkamp said that at 20:30 that night, the patient was collected by a privately-arranged ambulance and transported to the Denmar Hospital in Pretoria, where she made a speedy recovery and was discharged in time to attend her son’s funeral.
Bredenkamp has since sent his correspondence to the National Departement of Health.
The Post requested comment from the hospital via e-mail after being informed of the query in a telephonic discussion with one Mpho Moloto, who said the query will be sent to their spokesman, Bhuti Muagi.
At the time of going to press no correspondence was received.
By: The Post