Mamelodi Hospital’s clinical manager, Dr Mpho Thoabala Motjope said the facility was “dismayed and appalled” by the abuse of 76-year-old Martha Marais at the hospital.
This comes after it surfaced through a social media post that the elderly woman had been a victim of abuse allegedly at the hands of hospital staff.
Virginia Keppler posted images and videos on Facebook that showed the elderly woman tied up to a leg of a chair allegedly at the hospital.
Marais is seen tied up and lying on the floor under the chairs while her distressed daughter berates the security guards for their shocking treatment of her.
Readers can view Keppler’s post here, however, please note the images contained in this post are not for sensitive viewers.
Keppler posted: “Nursing staff at the Mamelodi Hospital tied her hands behind her back and to these chairs, forcing her to lay on the cold floor since Tuesday night. Nursing staff ignored her, yet the staff at Eersterust clinic referred her because she needs urgent medical attention. Not even hardened murders, rapists are treated like this. I hope our new minister of health and police will see this as a criminal act and take steps against the staff of this hospital. This is disgraceful and then they wonder why we do not want to go to this “killer” hospital. This must end right here. Disgraceful!!!!!!!!”
This is my aunty Martha Marais, 76, my best friend Stephnie Marais mother. Staff at the Mamelodi Hospital tied her hands behind her back and to these chairs, forcing her to to lie down on the cold floor since Tuesday night. Nursing staff ignored her cries for help. Disgraceful! pic.twitter.com/PjO5Q2O72b
— Virginia Keppler (@VKeppler) May 29, 2019
Motjope said: “Restraining her in such a manner is both inhumane and insensitive. The hospital management is investigating this matter and those involved will be taken to task. In the meantime, we will offer counselling to the affected parties.”
Pretoria East Rekord spoke to Marais’ granddaughter Claudine, who explained that Martha fell ill on Monday and was taken to a clinic. Martha was later referred her to the Mamelodi Hospital because she was not eating, and her eyes were dilated. Martha was reportedly sent for X-rays later the day.
Claudine said Martha was still fine when the family left her at the hospital on Wednesday afternoon, but when the family went to visit only a few hours later, they said they found her on the floor tied to the bench.
Claudine said the nurse on duty told her mother that Martha was “hysterical and pulled out her drip and [they] had to restrain her”.
“No one deserves to be treated like that, it is inhumane. You don’t do this to a person. She is an elderly person. There is absolutely no excuse,” Claudia said, adding that her grandmother is very traumatised by the horrific incident.
Due to Marais’ delicate health condition, she is still in hospital and has since been moved to a ward.
Democratic Alliance (DA) MPL, Jack Bloom said he was horrified by the abuse of Marais at the Mamelodi Hospital.
Bloom said he has sent the photos and videos to the head of the Gauteng health department, Professor Mac Lukhele, for his immediate attention.
The Citizen contacted the department’s director of communications, Lesemang Matuka, on Thursday morning who said he had received the video but because he received it while on the road he had not had the opportunity to view it, adding that due to his current position he had not had the opportunity to investigate the matter.
However, he said that once he gets the opportunity, he would look into the matter.
Matuka later responded by reiterating that the department’s head office only became aware of the incident on Thursday morning, adding that it would be followed up “with keen interest to ensure that it doesn’t happen again in any of our public health facilities”.
“Our patients should be treated with dignity and respect at all times,” Matuka said.
Bloom said in a statement: “Mamelodi Hospital is notorious for poor treatment of patients. I hope that the new health MEC Bandile Masuku intervenes [to] urgently fix the deep-seated problems at this hospital.
“Mrs Marais has been shockingly abused rather than treated with the extra respect one would expect with an elderly person.
“A full investigation is needed so that this never happens again to any other patient.”