Bedridden Nomzamo Bona has accused Groote Schuur Hospital of mistreatment. But the hospital says they discharged Ms Bona after she had been found to have no injuries and there was nothing more that hospital staff could do for her.
Ms Bona, 56, told Vukani she suffered a health setback years ago when she “ballooned” and is now unable to walk. She does not know what caused her body to expand the way it has, but she knows that she has diabetes and high blood pressure.
And it has been more than 10 years since she has been able to leave her home in Luzuko, Philippi, she said.
Lying on a mattress in her dining room, she told Vukani that she was admitted to the Groote Schuur Hospital on Wednesday September 22 after having fallen at home and was discharged the following day even though she didn’t feel ready to return home.
“It was just after my bath when I fell. You can see how big I am. No one can pick me up when I am down. When that happens, I usually call the ambulance and the firefighters to come help pick me up.
“The ambulance came but they could not help and I told them the solution was the firefighters. They came and helped me. I was taken to Gatesville Hospital before being referred to Groote Schuur. But when I got to Groote Schuur, a doctor told me there is no place for me there so I must go home.
“I was shocked because he did not even know what I was here for. But it was later agreed that I must be admitted.”
Ms Bona claims she was then taken to an empty, cold store room and told there was no other room available for her.
By this time, she added, her adult diaper had needed changing and she was sweaty – but the nurses did not want to assist.
“All the nurses did not want to touch me at all. They said I was stinking. I was ridiculed and called names. I even asked a black nurse why she was treating another black woman like that. I told them I have rights too. But I was ignored. I was left traumatised,” said Ms Bona.
She said she wanted to stay at the hospital for a couple of weeks to recuperate, but her request was denied.
Groote Schuur Hospital, however, has refuted all Ms Bona’s claims. Hospital spokesman Alaric Jacobs confirmed that Ms Bona had been admitted to hospital last Wednesday after having fallen from her bed at home.
“All the allegations of maltreatment made are false. When she arrived, we accommodated her in our clean trauma unit in a private room.
“After she was examined by the doctors, it was found that she had no injury and this was communicated to her.
“Ms Bona did not want to leave the hospital after she was examined. There was nothing more we as a hospital could do for her,” said Mr Jacobs.
“She was seen by all the doctors, social worker and even a psychiatrist in the ward to assist her with any of her needs.
“While she was in the ward she was fed at all meal times like any other patient in the ward,” he told Vukani.
He said the hospital even arranged for community services to visit her at home three times a week.
Ms Bona, however, says she knows nothing about this arrangement.