Patient, 89, left soiled, bloodied
Hospital launches probe after grandson tells of finding helpless grandfather in shocking state
Life St Georges Hospital has ordered an internal investigation into the level of care given to an 89-year old patient after shocking pictures of the man, left soiled and full of blood, were widely shared on social media this week.
This comes as spokesperson for the Health Ombudsman (the Office for Health Standards Compliance), Ricardo Mahlasela, said regulations were promulgated last year to allow it to have oversight over private hospitals too.
He said the organisation would be in a position to take complaints from February.
Riaan Croucamp, the regional manager Coast West for Life Healthcare, said the hospital was deeply concerned about the incident.
“We have engaged with the patient’s family with regard to the matter. We are taking the matter very seriously and as such we are conducting an internal investigation.
“Quality patient care, which includes ensuring a patient’s dignity, is of utmost importance to us. We will take the necessary and appropriate steps to address the matter,” he said.
The patient, whose name is being withheld to maintain his dignity, has been in hospital since November and was photographed lying in bed in a urine- and blood-soaked gown.
The man’s grandson said nurses were trying to pressure the family into removing the Facebook post.
By Friday the post had generated close to 900 comments and 1,700 shares on the social media platform.
The grandson said the patient was blind and suffered from dementia and the hospital was informed that he would need 24-hour care.
“Every night after work my granny and I visit my grandpa, who is in St George's Life Hospital. Last night I got there to Ricardo Mahlasela SPOKESPERSON for OMBUDSMAN find my grandpa soaked in urine and blood with not one nurse to help him . . . This is not the first time I have visited him after work to find something wrong.
“The first time they had inserted his drip incorrectly. It took more than three days for the swelling to go down.
“This is not the kind of care I would expect when you pay so much for medical aid.
“This kind of thing should not be acceptable in any state or private hospital.
“You would expect people in the medical profession to be compassionate and want to make sure their patients are comfortable, not leave them in an embarrassing and unhealthy situation, especially when they are not capable of helping themselves.
“They should ensure the patients are in a presentable state, especially when they are being visited by their families and loved ones, to preserve their dignity,” he said.
He said he had had to ask nurses “countless times” to change his grandfather because his adult nappy was full.
He said his grandfather had been sent home now because the hospital said there wasn’t anything else it could do for him.
“He has been admitted to a frail care centre and is actually doing much better,” the man said.
Mahlasela said it would be best if complainants went the internal route first.
“Speak to the unit manager and the hospital CEO, but if you are not happy you come to us.
“Bring any evidence you have. If it is an emergency you mustn’t bother with internal channels first. Get in touch with us and we will dispatch a team to go and see what is going on,” he said.
The Hospital Association of South Africa said to complain about a private hospital a full written complaint would have to be submitted to it...