Hospitals can't refuse patients care

Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital.
Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital.
Image: KATHERINE MUICK-MERE

Nonqaba Mosunkutu is a nurse and matron at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto but today she feels betrayed by the same hospital she's worked at for so many years.

She's discontented after her husband Khabisi Mosunkutu, 69, was refused treatment by a physiotherapist at the hospital because they wanted him to go to a hospital closer to his home in Kibler Park, south of Johannesburg.

The Mosunkutus were told that this was in line with the hospital's policy.

Khabisi, a Struggle stalwart and former Gauteng MEC for transport, had been taken to the hospital by his wife after he experienced complications from the stroke he suffered in July.

Nonqaba did not take her husband to Bara for special treatment because she works there but did so because Khabisi had been receiving treatment at the same hospital for months.

So what changed yesterday?

Nonqaba said when they arrived at the hospital yesterday, doctors prescribed medication and also referred him for physiotherapy.

She said they were already in the consultation room when the physiotherapist refused to assist them and "rudely" told them to go to the South Rand Hospital.

This is the same hospital we reported about last week after allegations of ill-treatment and neglect of patients.

Nonqaba said they had a prescription chart from the doctor and it boggles the mind why her husband was refused treatment.

Now Nonqaba wants the health department to discipline the physiotherapist and we hope whoever did wrong is punished accordingly.

Sick people like Khabisi deserve better treatment at our hospitals because they go there for a reason.

We are not suggesting in any way that Khabisi should have been given special treatment because of his status.

But the ailing old man was there to seek treatment and he deserved to be there and taken care of, not to be told to go elsewhere at the time when he's desperate for treatment. It's not like Khabisi didn't have a prescription from the doctor.

The hospital spokesperson is denying claims that patients are being ill-treated and neglected at Bara, but previous reported incidents tell a different story.

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