Patients say hospital 'treats them like dogs'

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Trouble-torn Abaqulusi Municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal is under attack from patients who attend the Vryheid District Hospital in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

They are furious about what they call "shabby service" from the state hospital.

In desperation they have petitioned the newly appointed MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs Mtholephi Mthimkhulu. During a meeting the patients told him they are treated badly by nurses, and that the treatment meted out to HIV-positive patients is atrocious.

Bheki Shabane, 42, from Mondlo said he was recently diagnosed with HIV. He had to take his pills, but was denied a meal despite having waited in the hospital queue since 4am. The nursing staff, he said, knew he could not take the medication on an empty stomach.

"We are treated like dogs. They really don't care about us or any other patients," said Shabane.

Another patient, Martha Magubane, 52, from Hlobane, shared Shabane's sentiments. She said that some people died while waiting on the hospital's benches.

"If you arrive here in the morning you are likely to spend the night here. You're lucky if you see a doctor the next day because there are not enough doctors."

Mthimkhulu has promised to compile a report and submit it to the premier. He would also consult provincial health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni.