'This is nothing less than criminal': Footage from KZN hospital sparks outcry on social media

12 January 2021 - 12:30
By Unathi Nkanjeni
A viral video of a woman screaming for help in a Durban hospital has upset and enraged many social media users. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Yuriy Klochan A viral video of a woman screaming for help in a Durban hospital has upset and enraged many social media users. Stock photo.

A viral video of a woman screaming for help at Wentworth Hospital in Durban has sparked an outcry on social media.

In the video a woman can be heard screaming: “I can’t breathe! I am going to die like this!”

Other patients can be seen sleeping on floors and on chairs. No staff members are seen responding to or attending to the woman. It is unclear who filmed the video.

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu confirmed there would be an investigation at the hospital, and condemned the filming and distribution of the video without official authorisation and the consent of the patients.

“We are concerned by circumstances that led to this situation, and are investigating this matter,” she said.

Simelane-Zulu said the patients who were filmed were awaiting their Covid-19 test results.

“On the day in question, the hospital had received a particularly high number of patients. Additionally, 11 doctors were away in isolation after testing positive and 17 nursing staff were off due to Covid-19. Six nurses were in charge of the accidents and emergency unit and a 28-bed short-stay ward with very sick patients,” she said.

Simelane-Zulu said a delegation from head office has since helped the hospital to ensure the patient flow is properly managed.

On social media, many users weighed in on the viral video, saying the situation was “heartbreaking”.

Here is a snapshot of some of the reactions: