Wife’s desperation as desperately ill husband receives no proper treatment

A GOLELA man’s life is hanging in the balance after he suffered a serious stroke – a likely result of not receiving the medical attention he required owing to broken CT scanners at Ngwelezana Hospital.

‘A month ago my husband had some seizures, thought to be a minor stroke, and it was determined that he needed an urgent brain scan,’ said Sonnette van Staaden.

‘But the CT scanner at Ngwelezana Hospital was not working and the scan was never done.’

Last Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, Sonnette’s husband, Anton, suffered more seizures and by Friday afternoon was very ill.

‘We telephoned for assistance and Mounties Ambulance was despatched.’

Despite roadworks and a train blocking the road, Mounties paramedics arrived within an hour-and-a-half of the call-out.

‘The 60-year-old patient was immediately stabilised and Ngwelezana Hospital was informed,’ said Mounties’ Joe Kruger.

‘We were very grateful that Ngwelezana accepted him as an out-of-area patient.

‘This showed that the seriousness of the situation from the on-scene report was recognised by the doctor.’

Despite the severity of Van Staaden’s condition, by Saturday night he had still not received the brain scan required to determine the damage the stroke had caused.

‘No doctor at Ngwelezana has spoken to me, only the nurses have and they said they cannot do the scan as the CT scanner is still not working,’ said Sonnette.

‘Anton’s health is deteriorating and he is now completely paralysed on his left side.

‘The nurses have told me it is because of pressure on his brain, but still they have done nothing to get him the help he so desperately needs.’

Instead, Van Staaden has been referred to an ear specialist because of his deafness.

‘He has suffered from industrial deafness for a long time, but that is not the cause of his stroke.

‘He needs a brain scan to see just how much damage was caused, and to possibly ensure he does not suffer any further damage. His ears can be seen to afterwards.’

Van Staaden’s sister died from a brain tumour at the age of 60 and, while Ngwelezana nurses have reportedly thanked the family for this information, it has done nothing to expedite his transfer to Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban.

‘Since Friday we have been waiting for Anton to be transferred to Albert Luthuli, but nothing has been arranged and we have no idea what is going on,’ said Sonnette.

Van Staaden is the only father figure in his three grandchildren’s lives after his son-in-law died last year.

Staying in temporary accommodation in Empangeni, Sonnette can do nothing but spend her days either at the hospital looking for answers or waiting by the telephone for the dreaded call.

‘At this stage there appears nothing the doctors can do, and if he cannot be transferred to Albert Luthuli, it looks as if he will not get the care he needs.

‘I have no idea what will happen from here.’

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Tamlyn Jolly

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