A 67-year-old Johannesburg white man allegedly mistreated by staff at two flagship academic hospitals is in danger of losing a leg.
Earl Harper and his family believe that he is being mistreated because he is white.
“I’m a nice person and treat people nicely, but when you are confronted by nasty people you start thinking rubbish.”
In continuous pain from an unhealed injury sustained in a scooter accident, Harper this week once again sought medical attention for the gaping wound in his right leg.
This time, he hoped, black doctors and nurses at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital would treat him better than on the previous five times he sought help.
“I have nowhere to go but a public hospital. All I have is my pride and they are taking that away,” he wept.
His medical nightmare began at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto, on June 20 immediately after the accident.
After a seven-hour wait and enduring what he called the “bad attitude” of black hospital staff, Harper was stitched up and sent home with a few packets of painkillers. He alleges that the Baragwanath team did not clean the wound properly.
This week the former credit manager and father of two claimed that staff at Charlotte Maxeke ignored his request for a bedpan during his five-hour wait for treatment and left him to wet himself.
His son, Eric, phoned The Times from East London, fearing his father would again be sent home without proper treatment for the wound – which is so deep that bone is exposed.
The Times arrived at the clinic at Charlotte Maxeke as Harper was being examined by three doctors.
Two Netcare/911 paramedics, whose duty was simply to transport him to the hospital, spent three-and-a-half hours there after being told by doctors and nurses that it was their responsibility to open an admission file.
“We just care, that is why we stayed,” they said.
Harper was treated courteously after staff discovered that he was accompanied by media representatives. In the event, he refused to be admitted, fearing that he would not receive adequate medical attention.
Gauteng health department spokesman Simon Zwane told Harper to make an official complaint.
“The department does not condone a negative attitude towards patients and visitors at any of its hospitals and has identified this as a matter that must receive attention.”
But Harper said it would be futile: “I complained before and the paperwork was never sent to me. I am old, sick and so tired. I would rather die than be treated like a dog.” – timeslive.co.za