Coronavirus patients refusing to be hospitalised pose a health risk to themselves and their community.
This is according to KwaZulu Natal MEC for health Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, who was speaking following the death of a KZN woman after she refused hospital care, the Berea Mail reports.
“The fact that our people in the province are very reluctant to be hospitalised should there be a need [is a serious concern]. We are making a call that if your health worker or clinician is advising you as a patient to go and be hospitalised, please go,” she said. “In the past couple of days, we have had a few fatalities that were not necessary, purely on the basis that people were not allowing themselves to be hospitalised.”
Simelane-Zulu said even though there were enough hospital beds to accommodate patients, they could choose to be hospitalised in private hospitals if they wish to. Earlier this year, a group of patients being quarantined at Addington Hospital petitioned the courts to be released saying they were being held against their will.
On June 3, the High Court in Pretoria made a landmark ruling stating that South Africans who test positive for Covid-19 could self-quarantine at home. The ruling effectively voided the previous regulations that made it mandatory for patients to be “quarantined or self-isolate at a state facility or other designated quarantine site”.
Simelane-Zulu said there was a stigma of being labelled as “weak” for going to a hospital. She stressed that healthcare workers have been trained to treat coronavirus patients.
“The latest death is of a woman and her husband who both were found to be positive a few days back and they insisted on self-isolation. She began having respiratory problems and when she was advised to go to the hospital she refused to do so because she believed her husband was taking good care of her even though her husband is not a clinician,” she said.
This article first appeared in the Berea Mail and has been republished with permission.