ON Tuesday January 7, I took ill and was transported by ambulance to the Livingstone Hospital casualty department. I had been warned that they were extremely short-staffed and that I might have a reasonably long wait.
A masterpiece of understatement: one doctor and approximately 50 patients waiting to be seen, not forgetting the emergency cases being brought in by ambulance!
I was and am appalled by the treatment or lack thereof that the patients were receiving. Never have I witnessed the degree of cold callousness and lack of compassion that I did that evening.
A woman was brought in on a trolley with no mattress or pillow. When a friend of mine asked a nurse if there was a pillow that could be given to her to alleviate her discomfort, the response was, “There are no pillows”!
My friend then made up a pillow using the woman’s clothing which was dumped on top of her.
I was admitted to the hospital at 7.50pm and was patient No23. I finally left at 12.20am having not seen a doctor. Patient No11 was also an elderly man who had been at the hospital since 11am and had not seen anyone.
I am 78 and live on a state pension. Being unable to pay the exorbitant fees charged by medical aid companies, I now find myself, together with so many others, having to be subjected to this atrocious treatment.
What a sorry state this country is in when the Hippocratic Oath is no longer worth the paper it is written on, and when the elderly and infirm, who have worked and given their all and paid their taxes, are thrown on the proverbial garbage dump.
Johan Naudé, Port Elizabeth