Disciplinary action has been taken against four staff members implicated in the shocking abuse of an elderly woman at the Mamelodi Hospital, following a social media post which went viral last week.
The post (including photos and video), by former news editor Virginia Keppler, showed 76-year-old Martha Marais, with her hands tied behind her back on the floor. Staff were ignoring her cries for help.
Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC – said the Democratic Alliance welcomes the news “but further steps are needed to eradicate the deep rot at this hospital”, which is “notorious for poor treatment of patients”.
According to a preliminary report, 76-year-old Martha Marais was chained for eight hours on the freezing cold floor under steel benches.
Two doctors and a nurse, as well as a security guard, have been placed on special leave and will have to give reasons why they should not be suspended.
“It boggles the mind how any medical professional could be involved in this callous treatment of a frail patient.
“The hospital’s top management should also be held accountable as something like this could only happen in a general culture of poor service and contempt for the dignity of patients,” said Bloom.
Nurses reportedly told the patient’s family that Mrs Marais had been tied to the bench because she had become hysterical and pulled out her drip. Authorities say she was a little violent and confused, but there’s a procedure to follow in such cases and this was not done.
Mrs Marais’ grandchild told Pretoria East Rekord: “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.”
Mamelodi Hospital’s clinical manager reportedly said the hospital was “dismayed and appalled” by the abuse, and agreed that “restraining her in such a manner is both inhumane and insensitive.”
Bloom says he supports the Marais family’s decision to lay an assault charge against those responsible.
The family say they would like “heads to roll”. Watch below.
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