“We call it the mortuary” An Eastern Cape father’s traumatic experience with local public health facilities

Babsy’s family is amongst the 40 million or so mostly poor black South Africans who, as the economy collapses and unemployment rockets, are increasingly forced to rely on a crumbling public health system. The government is clearly not interested in providing adequate health services for poor people. Babsy Mpheshwa was introduced to me by a Glebelands community leader, as a friend from the same area of the Eastern Cape. I was told Babsy wanted to speak of his experiences with the Eastern Cape Health Department and the treatment his two sons and nephew received after they were involved in a serious car crash just over a week ago.

This is Babsy’s story:

At about 04h30 on the morning of Saturday 28 January, Babsy’s two sons and nephew, aged between 21 and 27 years, had been travelling from Flagstaff to Bizana, when, at a place called Magusheni, they were involved in an accident and their vehicle overturned. All three young men were badly injured and sustained head injuries, a broken jaw, ribs and arm, a badly lacerated tongue, severe bruising and other cuts and abrasions.

They were in considerable pain and suffering from shock when taken by ambulance to the Casualty Department of Bizana’s St Patrick’s Hospital. Once in Casualty they sat on a wooden bench awaiting medical treatment where they waited and waited and waited….more

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