Pelonomi patients suffer in misery

Mariette Pittaway

DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:

Patients at Pelonomi Regional Hospital continue to suffer in pain and misery due to a critical shortage of medical specialists, doctors, and medicine.

Patient Fanie Olivier, was operated on following his motorbike accident in October 2013, since then he repeatedly returned to the hospital to have the loosening screws in his leg fastened. He was told on numerous occasions, despite being booked for surgery, that the procedure could not continue due to the unavailability or shortages of beds and equipment.

Another patient, Kathlene van Heerden, has been lying in hospital for 6 weeks with broken leg. The leg has now turned septic and nothing is being done.

A young woman, Carina Visagie, broke her back in an accident and has been lying in wait for surgery for more than a month, desperately waiting for a neurosurgeon to be found who could operate on her.

The department’s shortage on critical positions in Pelonomi leaves the lives of many at risk. These are but a few of scores of cases who were brave enough to speak out against the hospital’s inability to deliver medical care. Hundreds more suffer in silence due to fear of intimidation and longer waiting periods for surgery.

It is evident that the turnaround strategy announced by Health MEC Malakoane last year was a mere media event to placate public pressure. There is no real turnaround strategy to turn the department around and MEC Malakoane does not have the political will to do so.

The Provincial Department of Health and MEC Malakoane is currently being investigated by the Human Rights Commission for gross Human Rights violations due to the department’s failure to deliver quality healthcare to all.

I raised the issues of these individuals with Finance MEC Elzabe Rockman, since the department has been placed under the administration of Provincial Treasury, and call on her to respond to their concerns as a matter of urgency.

I was forced to approach MEC Rockman since MEC Malakoane is nowhere to be found except in the accused benches of various courts defending himself from numerous fraud and corruption charges.