An Ezibeleni family is distraught by the fact that their relative’s body was left for hours in a locked Ezibeleni clinic, making it difficult for coroners to take the body to a mortuary last Wednesday.
Ezibeleni Zone 1 resident Khanyisa Xashimba, 61, died at the Ezibeleni clinic last Wednesday, after she had gone to seek help that morning, but did not make it home.
She reportedly died in the clinic toilet and was discovered by another patient, her lying face down with blood coming from the mouth area.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Phakamisa Xashimba said the family was devastated when they learned the incident had taken place at 11am, but they were only informed in the afternoon.
“We are disgusted by everything surrounding our sister’s death at the clinic. When we arrived at the scene there were police officers. They asked for her medical records and medication she was taking, which we provided. Since there was no uncertainty surrounding her passing we were allowed to call coroners to take the corpse away.
Phakamisa said when Khanyisa’s son, Sipho Xhashimba, went to call personnel from a funeral parlour he returned to find the clinic locked and nurses nowhere to be found.
“We were confused and did not know what to do. At that point the body had been lying there for more than five hours. When we finally managed to get the clinic opened after speaking to a security guard on site, we found her on the floor amid blood. It was such a sad and horrific site for the family and we are highly disappointed by the way the nurses handled the situation”
A tearful Sipho said when he arrived at the clinic initially, nurses administered basic tests on his mother and everything seemed fine. They told her to wait in the emergency room for an ambulance.
“The family’s question is why they told her to wait for an ambulance if everything was well. My mother reportedly went to the bathroom and did not come back until someone found her there. They did not inform us on time, they locked her body inside the clinic when they knew we had gone to find help. They were inconsiderate and insensitive in this matter and I resent them for the way they treated my mother..”
The family elder, Phakamisa, said the following day two officials from the clinic had visited the family to apologise for what had happened.
“I want to put it categorically that the family rejected their apology and have laid a grievance with the local department of health who already knew about the incident. I met a woman who said she was an acting director and she said all nurses and officials involved would undergo disciplinary processes. She said the clinic official made an incomplete report about what had happened which was rejected by the department. She promised to keep us updated about what is to happen.”
The family said the majority of Zone 1 residents were appalled, with some threatening to boycott the health facility.
Provincial department of health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo could not be reached for comment. Queenstown police cluster spokeswoman Namhla Mdleleni confirmed the incident and said police attending the scene had indicated no case was opened as the cause of death was medical.
The funeral service will take place tomorrow, starting at the family home, then to a church in town.