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Cry for help to carry load as hospital lift remains broken

With medical waste piling up in wards, Provincial Hospital doctors were seen carrying fresh linen up seven flights of stairs

Provincial Hospital haematology department head Dr Neil Littleton takes clean linen up the stairs to his unit
Provincial Hospital haematology department head Dr Neil Littleton takes clean linen up the stairs to his unit
Image: Estelle Ellis

With medical waste piling up in wards, Provincial Hospital doctors were seen carrying fresh linen up seven flights of stairs, assisting patients and helping with food and medicine delivery yesterday as the lift in M-Block remained broken for an eighth day.

Cancer patients seeking treatment at the hospital have had to climb between three and seven flights of stairs to reach the clinic over the last week.

The Igazi Foundation, a non-government organisation supporting the haematology ward on the seventh floor, made an urgent call for volunteers to report to the ward to assist patients and staff in carrying linen, medicine and food up the stairs.

Igazi spokesman Cole Cameron said volunteers can report to the ward and ask for Sister Sharon Jantjies.

He and the head of the department of haematology Dr Neil Littleton were seen by The Herald carrying bags of linen up and down stairs yesterday.

Patients struggling to get to their doctors were also seen resting between flights of stairs yesterday.

One of the patients sat on the stairs on the sixth floor. “I am just taking a rest,” he said.

“I will get to the seventh floor.” Next to the broken lift was a sign asking patients to see if they could get up the stairs or otherwise phone to reschedule their appointments.

A patient rests on the 6th floor as he goes up the flight of stairs to see his doctor on the 7th floor at Provincial Hospital
A patient rests on the 6th floor as he goes up the flight of stairs to see his doctor on the 7th floor at Provincial Hospital
Image: Estelle Ellis

Early yesterday morning, doctors found a child with an amputated leg on the stairs trying to make his way up to see his doctor.

Eastern Cape health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said earlier the lift was meant to have been operational by Friday last week.

The two lifts at the M-Block have been in a sad state for years, with one condemned ages ago, and the second one packing up recently.

The Department of Health has said the hospital would finally be getting two new lifts this year.

Hospital management did not respond to queries yesterday afternoon.

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