Friday, February 20, 2009

The collapse of institutions

The collapse of institutions in this case State run hospitals in South Africa is a cause for great concern. A minor example of what is taking place at thousands of such places around the country is related hereunder.

In June of 2007 my father-in law Mr Gladstone Ncokazi went to our local doctor for a general check up. Gladstone was 89 but in fine health. An upstanding Christian who never smoked or drank. The doctor pronounced him in excellent health. However, he had a minor urinary problem and required a catheter.

The doctor suggested he go to the Kokstad hospital to have this fitted which he did. He was in the hospital for four days. On the fifth day he was allowed to walk out of the hospital with no coat or shoes, on his own, dazed and disorientated. Despite the senior nursing staff having all the family's telephone numbers nobody was called. Nothing was done. Instead he was allowed to walk out into freezing sub-zero temperatures. It was mid-winter with heavy frost and the wind chill factor was the coldest Kokstad had experienced for many years.

When the family arrived at the hospital to visit him nobody knew where he was. They searched the town frantic with worry, called the police and advertised, all to no avail. They searched the entire day, night and following day.

On the 7th day, in the evening, the police found his almost lifeless body on the hills overlooking the Kokstad cemetery where he had wandered. He had on no shoes, no coat, yet had managed to survive the bitter cold for 48 hours. As we reached his prone scantily clad body, he passed away.

We consoled ourselves by knowing that he had not been alone during those long bitterly cold hours as God had been at his side until the end. Gladstone was a man of great faith.

I wanted to take this matter public then but was advised to wait. It has now been 18 months and I am told the public prosecutor still has to read the file!! Nothing has been done, nobody cares. I got a senior cabinet Minister Geoff Doidge's office (he was then MP) to write to the Provincial Commissioner (EC), the Station Commander (KKD), the National Director-General of Health and the Chairperson of the Public Service commission. But he too was ignored and with no follow ups from them they simply swept the matter under the carpet and moved on hoping everyone would forget. Just another old black, just another statistic.

It is an utter disgrace both on the Government, hospital management, the staff, the medical administration in general and the legal system as a whole. It is a microcosm of what is happening elsewhere in this country. Incompetence, stupidity, carelessness, fraud and a general "couldn't give a damn" attitude of staff and management.

A commission of enquiry needs to be set up to make sure this does not happen to anyone else. The people responsible should be brought to book and heads must roll. I feel that if I had created an uproar 18 months ago, as I wanted to, these latest incidents would possibly not have taken place.

As tax and rate payers people need to take collective action now. Hard earned money is being spent (& stolen) and we should demand and ensure we get better service from these institutions. Not everyone has medical aid nor can they afford the exorbitant charges levied at private hospitals.

Yet another incident concerning this hospital took place last week. A young man together with 4 of his friends was jogging in the late afternoon just outside town approx half a mile from the hospital. He was hit from behind by a car who then sped off without stopping.

Two of his friends ran to the hospital for help and an ambulance. When they arrived they were told "they couldn't send a vehicle". Instead they gave them a wheelchair to "go fetch him"!!!

Having no other option they were forced to do this. Upon reaching their friend they noticed his arm had been torn off by the impact. They loaded him and the appendage into the wheelchair but by the time they arrived at the hospital he was dead. The young man was 17 years old.

This hospitalised house of horrors is one of many that flourish around the country under the present ANC leadership. A government hell bent on protecting their own corrupt members, filling their pockets and rewarding thieves and fraudsters with promotion.

A new Minister of health has been appointed but it will take years to undo the gross mismanagement of the previous Minister, Manto Tshabalala who advised all AIDS sufferers to "eat beetroot" and "they would be fine". A similar comment to the one made by the proposed new President of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma, who after having unprotected sex with an HIV woman said he took a shower and that would "protect him".

Yes, it is these idiots we have had running this country (into the ground)

since 1999. Prior to that from 1994 it was a government of national unity so there was at least some control.

It is these idiots that are proposing to run the country for the next 5 years.

It is these idiots who will turn this country into another Zimbabwe exactly like their pal BOB has done.

And what he has done and what they propose to do is exactly what the hospitals around the country are presently doing to their patients, killing them!