Northern Cape family to sue Health department after elderly woman dies

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The family of an elderly Calvinia woman is preparing to sue the Northern Cape Health Department. This after she died shortly after arriving at the Abraham Esau hospital in the town.

The family says the woman waited for hours for an ambulance – and they eventually had to make their own way there.

The Northern Cape Health department is facing medical legal claims of more than R320-million. Senior reporter, Ulrich Hendriks filed this report and it’s voiced by Reginald Witbooi.

On February 2nd this year, Amanda Whites called the ambulance…Her aunt, Rachel Cloete, was in distress. They waited for three hours in vain. Finally, they managed to secure a private vehicle. But just as they reached the Abraham Esau hospital, she passed away.

“I’m not happy about that thing because I think they are not looking after the old people here in Calvinia and every time we phone the ambulance then the ambulance didn’t come so I’m very disappointed in that,” says Whites.

The Whites family story is not unique.

“We have a child who has a brain tumor. The last time we called them we wait more than five hours and then the police come afterwards. We must go with the police to the hospital with that child,” says Calvinia resident, Ivan Basson.

The Northern Cape health department says it receives up to 10 000 calls for ambulances per month and it reaches around 85% of those in need.

“Our condolences to the bereaved family. It’s quite unfortunate to lose a family member waiting for an ambulance. We are hoping that we won’t repeat that. That’s why last week during SOPA we launched out of the 49 ambulances we are waiting, we launched 19,” says Northern Cape Health MEC, Maruping Lekwene.

The department says it is also on a drive to recruit more ambulance drivers and Emergency Medical Technicians. But it says an overhaul is also needed for a quicker turn-around when buying or repairing ambulances.

Video: Northern Cape residents unhappy with the poor emergency response of ambulances