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WATCH | 'My wife was killed by this hospital': Atlantis residents complain about poor service, delays in care

Western Cape health MEC says her department will respond to the residents before the end of July.

05 July 2022 - 09:25 By TimesLIVE Video

When Joshua Swarts took his wife Harriet to the Wesfleur Hospital in Atlantis, he could not have anticipated having to wait eight hours to see a doctor. He also did not anticipate leaving the hospital alone after she died. 

Swarts blames this eight-hour wait and the hospital's triage process for Harriet's death. She was buried at the weekend.

“My wife passed away two weeks ago. On the 16th (of June) I brought her here for treatment. On the 17th at 2am the doctors called me. So my wife died in this hospital because they didn't treat her right. They didn't give her the right medical treatment,” he said. 

Last week Swarts protested outside the hospital while holding up a picture of his wife. 

“When I put in a grievance against them they called me and told me they triaged her as a code yellow patient not in danger. but my question is, how can you treat my wife as a code yellow if you didn't do a full triage?” 

Swarts was one of dozens of community members who protested outside the hospital gate last week, demanding change from the Western Cape health department. 

“Wesfleur Hospital killed my wife because they didn't give her the proper treatment on the right time. They waited more than eight hours before they gave her medical attention so she died. I have to bury my wife on Saturday morning with my kids and I'm not happy with the service this hospital is giving.” 

Other Atlantis residents told TimesLIVE about having to wait from the previous night to see a doctor. 

“People have been waiting here for two days and still not getting proper healthcare. I don't know if there isn't enough nurses, we really don't know.”

Davids said some people were also being blocked from entering the clinic while others arrived as early as 4am only to wait hours for assistance.

The Western Cape health department says it is aware of the complaints about the hospital. 

Western Cape health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo told TimesLIVE her department would give feedback to residents before the end of July and she said a community meeting would be called to discuss the issues raised. 

“I've asked them (department staff) to rework it because when we go back we need to deliver something of the improvement plan,” she said. 

In a written response to TimesLIVE the Western Cape government health department said it was aware of protest action at the hospital.

“While we have not received any formal complaints or complaints from our health committee, we view the concerns shared by residents in a serious light.”

The department said patients are triaged into different categories.

“We acknowledge that patients triaged yellow and green, who do not require life-saving intervention, can have a much longer waiting time when visiting the hospital’s emergency centre, especially when it is very busy over weekends,” the department said. 

It urged patients with “minor ailments” to access healthcare at one of the other clinics in the area, to reduce the pressure on Wesfleur Hospital and their waiting time at the hospital.

“We encourage residents to reach out to our health community governance structures, such as health committees and hospital boards, to raise health-related concerns or to speak to the facility manager.”

If you're unhappy with the care or treatment you receive from a Western Cape government health facility, send a “Please Call Me” to 079 769 1207 or call 0860 142 142 to lodge your complaint. “This communication channel is specifically for patients who are unhappy,” the department said. 

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