'Hospital kept mom's death secret,' says distraught son

Andrew Chauke holds a picture of his mother Christina./ThULANI MBELE
Andrew Chauke holds a picture of his mother Christina./ThULANI MBELE

When Andrew Chauke's mother died at Mamelodi Hospital a day after she was admitted, the family was not notified.

Despite calls to the hospital to get an update on her condition and a visit to find out what was happening, no one told them that Christina Chauke, 70, had died.

It was not until Andrew's aunt found someone who works at the hospital to check on Chauke on May 5 that the family received news that Chauke died on April 28, a day after she was admitted.

Andrew said his mother became ill on April 27 at her home in Mamelodi West.

"I immediately took her to a doctor. The doctor examined her and instructed me to take her to hospital. I called an ambulance, which arrived and took her to Mamelodi Hospital."

Chauke had a heart problem for some time. Andrew visited the hospital on May 2 after not getting any call about his mother's condition.

"I found the security guard at the entrance. He showed the notice on the door and told me that if anything changes on my mom's condition we will receive a call. If nothing changes, the hospital will not call anyone. He said no visits were allowed because of the coronavirus. I then went away expecting that if anything changes, I would get a call."

The next day Andrew's cousin, Jeanette Mabunda, called the hospital.

"They simply informed her that if she wants to know where she is, she must go look for her in Sunvalley where my mom stays and dropped the phone."

His aunt then found someone who worked at the hospital to check on Chauke's condition.

"If we had not called the hospital . today, we would still be chilling here, thinking she is fine because they have not called, while she is no more. This has really traumatised us as a family."

He told Sowetan the family went to the hospital and lodged a formal complaint. "One of the senior nurses there wanted to come and meet us and I refused. I asked for time to prepare to bury my mother in peace. After the funeral, we will see what action can be taken against the hospital."

Chauke is expected to be buried tomorrow.

Efforts to get comment from the provincial department of health were fruitless.

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