Family says deceased did not have COVID-19

The family of a King William's Town woman want to know why nurses refused to treat her. Nine nurses at Grey Hospital have been suspended after the incident. It's understood they refused to attend to her because they thought she have COVID-19, and they didn't have proper protective gear. eNCA's Aviwe Mtila visited the family of the deceased, who say she had pneumonia and not COVID-19. Courtesy #DStv403

EASTERN CAPE- The family of a woman who died at Grey Hospital in King William's Town, allegedly because nurses refused to help her, says she had pneumonia - not COVID-19.

About nine nurses have since been suspended.

It's understood they refused to help the woman, suspected of having COVID-19 because they didn't have proper protective gear.

“There wasn't a single nurse who came to check on this patient. My sister's health deteriorated in front of the nurses, who were walking up and down past her, while we kept asking them to help,” said the deceased sister, Thandiwe Klaas.

Klaas's sister, Ntombizanele, was referred to Bisho Hospital Sunday afternoon after being diagnosed with pneumonia by a local doctor.

COVID-19: Nurses suspended over patient's death

Upon her arrival, she was then referred to Grey Hospital around 4pm with the family being told she was a suspected COVID-19 case.

She passed on the next day at around 6pm without being attended to from the time she arrived.

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The family says the nurses refused to help her.

“It's not that they weren't around, they were there. They didn't want to attend to us since we had a suspected COVID-19 case. Even then they were prancing up and down. We weren't attended to until she passed away in our arms. They watched us cry as she passed away while they were sitting in the passages,” she added.

The nurses say they didn't have adequate personal protective equipment to attend to Klaas.

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"This is not unique, we have been here together two weeks back dealing with the issue of the lack of PPE's as well the support coming from the management of the institution," added Nehawu regional secretary, Mlu Ncapayi.

The health department spokesperson in the Eastern Cape says this incident is being investigated but added that hospitals in the province do have adequate personal protective equipment.

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