RECENTLY my husband was rushed to Somerset, a state hospital in Cape Town, situated in Green Point. As we are in between medical aids, we were obliged to use this hospital due to the emergency of the situation.
I took a flight to Cape Town and on arriving at the hospital, I was absolutely thrilled to see the difference between Western Cape and Eastern Cape state hospitals.
There was security at the gate and at the door – I had to receive a sticker stating where I was going to and at the door of the trauma unit were more security guards who allowed me in to see my husband. There were no folk lying in the passages or on benches in various degrees of illness.
No dirty, bloody swabs lying around on the floor, rubbish piled in a corner. No dirty smells or dirty walls.
Everyone was either on a stretcher, bed or sitting in a chair or wheelchair. Plenty of nurses and aides keeping an eye on the patients until the doctors could attend to them.
My husband did wait a long time – it was Saturday night after all – but monitors were connected and he was constantly checked on until the doctor was able to attend to him.
What an example the Western Cape is to the Eastern Cape. I have, fortunately, never had to be taken to a state hospital in any of the other regions so cannot compare with them, but have been to Livingstone for a short while with another person and saw for myself the disgusting conditions that folk are exposed to with no professional care or empathy even, except for one and that was the doctor on duty.
The telephone was secured to the desk in a metal cage – the same with the glucometer, screwed to a bedside cupboard which was just pushed around to where it was needed. The person's arm had to be turned in the most awkward position to get a reading!
There was no wheelchair or stretcher and the person was carried out of the hospital by my youngest son and placed in my vehicle to be taken to Greenacres.
Those responsible should hang their heads in shame. Hospitals work it Western Cape and I wonder why!
Lyn Haller, Port Elizabeth