TB patient dies after rejection by clinic

TB patient Siyabonga Jim died after being turned away from a clinic
Picture: Supplied

Kwazakhele pupil refused help because nurses ‘all sick’

The family of a Kwazakhele High School pupil who was turned away from a clinic from which he had sought help was in shock yesterday after he dropped dead on his way home.

Siyabonga Jim, 20, a TB patient at the Lunga Kobese Clinic, was allegedly told at the clinic that he could not be helped as all the nurses had called in sick.

Jim was one of nearly 20 patients told to come back on Monday.

He had been sent to the clinic, about 200m from the school, by a teacher who had become concerned about his health at about 11am.

After being turned away, he collapsed in a park not far from the clinic.

Marcus Jim and his
wife, Thembeka, have blamed the death of
their son, Siyabonga, on the clinic that
turned him away
Picture: Judy de Vega

Jim’s father, Marcus, 63, said he blamed the clinic for the death of his son.

“The least they could have done was to call an ambulance if they could not do anything else, and not just turn him away,” he said.

“Then we could at least have gone to see him at a hospital.

“I blame the clinic. How can they turn away a child who was clearly distressed?

“I would like to meet the people of this clinic who caused my child to die in such a painful way – in the street.

“Before the TB, he played soccer and other sports, but he stopped when he got sick.

“He would get worse when the weather was cold, like [yesterday].”

Marcus said he had asked the nurses at the clinic last week whether they could recommend a TB clinic where Jim could complete his treatment, but the nurses suggested that he allow him to at least finish writing his exams first. The clinic gates were locked yesterday.

Health Department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said all the nurses stationed at the clinic had called in sick yesterday.

“The department will investigate their sick certificates,” he said.

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