Marina never contacted family of neglected patient

Gabane funeral for Modisane Sekgee. PIC: KEBOFHE MATHE
Gabane funeral for Modisane Sekgee. PIC: KEBOFHE MATHE

The identity of the asthma patient who died after Princess Marina Hospital nurses neglected him has been revealed. He is 69-year-old Modisane Sekgee of Gabane.

A visitor to Marina, Gontle Kwelo blew the whistle via Facebook after he saw the patient being ignored by nurses as he kicked and struggled for breath before falling head down from his bed. Kwelo, with the help of five security guards who were sent to chase him away, helped the patient back to bed before a doctor certified him dead few minutes later.

On Thursday, members of the bereaved family told The Monitor in Gabane that they are disappointed with the hospital management who failed to deal with the negligence of their staff.

Sekgee’s daughter Julia David says that when they received the news of their father’s death on Friday morning no one briefed them about the negligence. “They just said he died from difficulty in breathing; they did not even mention that our father had fallen from his bed; at that time we had not yet read the news on Facebook, or  the newspaper,” she said.

Sekgee’s elder son, Alfred says it was after reading The Monitor on Monday, four days after his father died, that he learnt that the patient who was neglected was indeed their father.

Alfred narrated the problems he encountered in trying to meet the whistle-blower. “I think Gontle was now stressed and did not want to meet with people who claimed to be the relatives of the deceased; I had to meet him in a public place while he also brought a team of his relatives for protection; but he was of very good assistance (sic) because he agreed to come with us to the mortuary, where he positively identified our father,” said Alfred.

“It was after reading The Monitor that something clicked in me; I then realised that our father had an unusual cut on his forehead; we have since performed a post-mortem on his body, but they say the results would not be out  until after two or three weeks,” Alfred said.

The family seemed to corroborate Kwelo’s account of a patient who was breathing with the help of machines. “It is true that for the last three weeks, they put oxygen cylinders and the mask besides him so that when he had breathing difficulty, he would put it on for support,” said Alfred’s brother, Clifford.

Alfred says the Marina hospital management only came clean about the incident on Wednesday when the family journeyed to the hospital to seek answers. “They claimed that they were still going to come to see us about the incident. I think they were fooling us, or they did not take the matter of our father’s death with the seriousness it deserves. He is our father,” Alfred says.

The family has sought legal opinion but would not reveal more on what they intend to do. “We were just told (by Marina management) that investigations were going on, but even then, on the sixth day, no post-mortem had been performed on the body, until we put pressure,” Alfred says. Meanwhile the whistle-blower, Kwelo confirmed meeting with the family and seeing the corpse at the hospital mortuary on Thursday. The deceased was laid to rest in Gabane on Friday.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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