3 days after Sizakele Nobela (53) was admitted to hospital, her daughters got the terrible news that she had died.
“I insisted on seeing my mum’s body to say goodbye properly,” said her daughter Thembisile Nobela (26). “But when I got to her body I realised she was alive!”
Thembisile, from Tembisa’s Mayibuye section in Ekurhuleni, said she and her sister Gugu Nkoana (34) constantly visited their mum at Tembisa Hospital. She said she went to visit on 7 February, when she was told her mum had died.
“The hospital said they waited for us to visit to give us the news. Nurses wouldn’t let me see my mum so I forced my way into the ward.” That’s when she found her mum was still alive. “I touched her hand. She was cold. But when I called out ‘Mama!’ she said ‘My daughter, I hear you’.”
Thembisile called her sister and ran to the nurses. “I asked them why they had lied about my mum’s death and they didn’t know what to say.” Gugu came rushing to the hospital and found Thembisile in tears. “She was crying that the nurses had played with our mother’s life,” she said.
The mum was moved to another ward, given medication and put on a drip.“This means they never attended to her before that,” said Gugu.“They then apologised.”
Sizakele officially died at the hospital five days later, on 12 February. The family believe she would be alive if she had not been neglected. “They left her there without food, treatment and even supervision. She suffered a lot,” said Gugu.
Gauteng Health’s Steve Mabona said: “The sister informed the family during visiting hours that the patient had difficulty breathing. They complained she was not responding. The sister also explained the doctor was on the way to the ward. Only a doctor can certify someone dead.”
He said the department asked patients who experience difficulties to report concerns to quality assurance officers at the institutions. “If not satisfied they should report to facility managers – hospital CEOs or clinic managers. Their concerns will be investigated. Complaints can be made 24 hours to 0860 011 000.”