Mediclinic neglected my ailing mother

Belinda de Freitas, Sanddrfit

My mom died, on Tuesday August 10, from Covid, on top of her already having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

I totally understand the pressure our front-line staff are under, but it saddens and angers me the way she was treated at two very well-known private hospitals, Milnerton Mediclinic and Panorama Mediclinic.

Why would they want to try to wean my mom off oxygen, if she was reliant on it 24/7 already prior to coming into hospital because of her condition? Where’s the assistance when a patient needs to go to the bathroom? Why not get a longer oxygen lead so the patient can breathe comfortably while trying to get there, instead of having the patient take out the cannula for that amount of time?

Why would you wait to put the oxygen cannula back only after you have fully finished washing or helping the patient to change pyjamas? This resulted in my mom complaining that she couldn’t breathe, getting anxious, gasping for air and panicking. When she asked for the cannula to be put back in, she was told to wait.

I made a point of complaining and have had phone calls to apologise. An apology is not accepted as it is not going to bring my mom back.

I was advised that meetings were since held with the nursing and head matron etc., to discuss future improvements. I was actually told on the phone that they have learned from this.

Did they forget, or did they not care, that they were dealing with a human being, who was relying on them for support and comfort and care?

How long have they been dealing with Covid patients? Where did the compassion go? Our loved ones are alone in there while we are outside with our hands tied and relying on them 100%. Did they forget that they are not dealing with a piece of paper that you can just turn over and put in a pending file for another day?

Where has it all gone wrong? You would expect this from the government hospitals.

I sometimes wonder if it is because it gets to a point that they know the patient is going to die anyway.

Where is the respect and dignity?

We as a family have no control over it at all.

The doctor who was her specialist deserves all the accolades he can get. All my mother wanted was to be near him at Panorama Mediclinic as he looked after her very well during her six years of her illness. My dear mom idolised him.

I didn’t want an apology from the hospitals, all I wanted was to voice my anger and disgust and concern for present and future patients going to these private hospitals.

I was also concerned about the emailed survey I received, asking for feedback on the hospital stay. One of the questions asked, “What was the level of education of the patient?” What has that got to do with anything? I was so disgusted.

My voice needed to be heard, as my dear mom couldn’t express hers.

Very sad indeed.

Dr Gerrit De Villiers, chief clinical officer of Mediclinic Southern Africa, responds:

Mediclinic can confirm that we are aware of the concerns expressed by the family and have been in direct contact with them to discuss the issues raised.

We extend our condolences to the family on their loss resulting from a Covid-19 infection.

An investigation was launched by both facilities in question when the complaint was received from the patient’s family, and all the necessary actions were taken to ensure that these concerns were addressed and to avoid any repetition in the future. Measures include better engagement between clinical and catering staff during urgent patient admissions as well as when patients are transferred between units.

Mediclinic would like to apologise for not meeting the family’s expectations in regard to the care delivered to their mother.

In order to further assist the family, Mediclinic has also extended an offer of bereavement counselling to the family, to support them during this challenging period.