By Kabelo Abel Mokgalabone
TZANEEN– The family of a 78-year-old Covid-19 patient, Agnes Mokgwakgwa recently complained with Mediclinic Tzaneen after Mokgwakgwa was left unattended for a week at the hospital.
According to the family, Mokgwakgwa was placed in the maternity ward because the Covid-19 ward was full. It is alleged that she was left alone, unattended for seven days until she developed an infection and subsequently died.
“We are deeply hurt at the treatment we received,” said Mokgwakgwa’s daughter, Pulane Mokgwakgwa.
The family said Mokgwakgwa started feeling sick on 28 December 2020, with a continuous cough before she tested positive for Covid-19 on 2 January. They immediately sent their mother to Mediclinic Tzaneen after receiving the result because Mokgwakgwa was experiencing shortness of breath and chest pain. The elderly woman was admitted the following day.
“The doctor explained that she was going to be admitted because her oxygen level was very low and they needed to boost it and that she would be given an injection that will help the flow of blood in her system to avoid the spreading of blood clots to the heart and lungs,” Pulane explained.
Mediclinic chief clinical officer, Dr. Gerrit de Villiers confirmed that Mokgwakgwa was admitted to Mediclinic Tzaneen. De Villiers said Mokgwakgwa was subsequently admitted to a special ward on the side of the hospital’s maternity ward as the Covid-19 ward was full.
The deceased’s daughter said each time the family called to check on their mother, the nurses informed them that she was doing fine.
“For the seven days that she was admitted, the doctor did not visit her for monitoring. She was injected and reacted to those injections but nobody cared. My mother was complaining of the pain and swelling and they did not care,” the heartbroken daughter said.
Pulane said it was heartbreaking to see her mother with a swollen belly after she had told her children to travel from Johannesburg to Tzaneen to see her. She said the family also went to the doctor’s private practice on 9 January to ask what get an update and to request for him to attend to Mokgwakgwa. The doctor claimed that he attended to the patient.
“We had to direct the doctor to the side of the maternity ward and upon his arrival, he was shocked to find out the damage he had caused to our mom. He immediately called the family to say we must come and give our mom the last hugs because she wouldn’t make it,” the daughter said.
Pulane said the family subsequently went to the hospital’s chief operations officer to lodge a formal complaint. However, the complaint allegedly fell on deaf ears. She said the doctor who was attending to her mother claimed two doctors were monitoring her mother and not to worry because the situation was manageable.
Mediclinic, however, refuted the claim and said Mokgwakgwa received constant medication and care from the nursing staff. De Villiers added that the attending doctor consulted with the pensioner on 9 January, but it was after this point that Mokgwakgwa’s condition began to deteriorate.
Mokgwakgwa died at the hospital on January 12.
“Mediclinic Tzaneen prioritises patient confidentiality and cannot provide any clinical details relating to her condition. However, we can confirm that hospital management met directly with the family to provide all relevant details relating to the patient’s care,” the chief clinical officer added.
“The situation has been very traumatic for our family. We are now under psychiatric observation because nobody is coping,” Pulane concluded.