A mother won’t give up the fight against nursing staff

Nomonde Lephalala will not give up the fight.

An angry Nomonde Lephalala of Ramokonopi Section told Kathorus MAIL that despite the intervention of the newspaper to help her resolve her ongoing dispute with the management of the clinic, the root-cause of her problems with the nursing staff at the clinic remain unresolved while the health of her asthmatic son continues to deteriorate and causes her concern.

According to the visibly agitated unemployed single mother, the dire situation she and her sickly son find themselves in has put her own health at risk. “I suffer from a heart condition and the stress of watching my son’s health being put at risk by people who were supposed to be there to help us heal has placed an extra burden on my own health,” she said.

Nomonde added that she feels her son’s rights have been further violated by the health facility’s senior administrative staff. This, she said, after they ignored her pleas to have her “issue” with the nursing staff resolved. This followed the intervention of Kathorus MAIL, in facilitating a meeting between Nomonde and the clinic manager, Sister Nelly, after she emailed her complaint to the newspaper.

Her problems with the clinic’s nursing staff started when she took her asthmatic son, Moneoa, then two-and-a-half-years-old, to the clinic on the afternoon of February 4. She said her son was suffering from a severe headache and had difficulty breathing normally.

“When I arrived at the clinic that morning there were only two other people who had also come for treatment. But because my son looked gravely ill and had difficulty breathing, I decided not to join the queue, but instead, I went straight to the receptionist at the front desk,” said Nomonde.

She added that she was then referred to the Emergency Section where she was met by the two nursing sisters, including a senior sister in charge (whose names are known to Kathorus MAIL).

According to Nomonde, instead of being assisted by the nursing staff, a barrage of verbal rebuke and abuse was hurled at her. She said she was accused of “jumping the queue” and “expecting her son to be treated as a special case”. She claimed the sister in charge did nothing to stop the unprovoked verbal onslaught against her.

The boy’s mother said that the sisters did not attend to her son adequately. “One of the sisters even told me that there was nothing wrong with my son and that I was exaggerating his condition. They refused to treat his condition as an emergency even though he was having difficulty breathing because of his asthmatic condition,” explained Nomonde.

She added that during a meeting facilitated by Kathorus MAIL in which she was to have personally presented her complaint to the clinic’s manager, Sister Nelly, the aggrieved Nomonde claimed she was further abused and humiliated by the very nursing staff. “I don’t think she showed the will to have the matter resolved. Our gathering was turned into another humiliating session. I walked out of there embarrassed and humiliated,” she explained.

She claimed clinic management has done nothing to resolve the problem despite an undertaking by Sister Nelly to escalate the matter to her seniors in the health department. “The manager, Sister Nelly, did very little to resolve my complaints against her nursing staff in the Emergency Ward,” lamented Nomonde.

She wants the issues between her and the clinic resolved as she cannot afford over-the-counter medication for her son. “It costs me a fortune to buy his medication. But I cannot entrust my son’s health to incompetent people,” she said, showcasing a few of the breathing apparatuses she claims she bought especially to monitor her ailing son’s fluctuating asthmatic condition.

Approached for comment, Sister Nelly was visibly taken aback by what she said were shocking claims by Nomonde Lephalala. “I thought everything had been resolved during our meeting in my office when she was here,” said Sister Nelly.

However, in what she described as her efforts to find an amicable resolution with Nomonde, Sister Nelly, has invited the Katlehong mother for another round of discussions, this time with officials from the local health department.

“This way, I think we might resolve whatever she is unhappy about,” said the clinic manager. “My door is always open and she will be welcomed at any time, so we can get to the bottom of her unhappiness,” she said.

Zaid Khumalo

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