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Mon Aug 31 04:32:38 SAST 2015

Father died in agony in hospital as son watched from window

Sapa | 29 November, 2012 08:48
Stethoscope. File picture.
Image by: Robbie Tshabalala

A 70-year-old man suffering from oesophageal cancer died in a sitting position, after days of excruciating pain, because the Matikwane Hospital in Hazyview, Mpumalanga, had run out of morphine.

Cancer patient Barnett Fine's son Gary, 40, had to sit on a windowsill outside the ward to see him, because nurses refused to admit him to the ward outside visiting hours, Beeld reported.

Nearly two month's after Fine's death, and after the Organisation Campaigning for Cancer complained to the government about Fine's poor treatment, also including the fact that his treatment had been delayed for two months because of broken hospital equipment, the government has yet to respond to the letter.

"It was his last few hours on earth, but I had to leave the ward. The nurses did nothing," Fine jr. said on Wednesday.

"I sat outside the window near his bed and I could hear him breathing. When I heard him struggling to breathe, I would quickly run inside to help him shift position. When he died, he wasn't even connected to a drip," he said.

Campaigning for Cancer said this week they had sent over 50 such letters to the government about the standard of treatment for cancer patients, but that they had heard patients were still being regularly turned away because of broken equipment.

The government did not respond to Beeld's media inquiries.

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