Hospitals must put patients first

THE DA Women’s Network (Dawn) stands for the rights enshrined in our constitution, and for freedom, fairness and equal opportunities for all women regardless of their circumstances of birth, status, age, education or address.

It is therefore with a deep sense of loss and utter sadness that we condemn the shameful failure of Livingstone Hospital to ensure that a doctor was available to switch off the life-support system keeping Tershia Botha artificially alive (“Tears of joy as Shannon responds to mom”, June 7).

The DA is well aware of the multiple shortages and challenges in the Eastern Cape department of health, and we sympathise with overloaded staff and long-suffering patients.

However, we condemn a system that leads family members to believe that their granny’s life support system is to be switched off by a doctor on a certain day, yet fails to communicate a date change to an anguished family.

This is unacceptable and a major insult to Botha’s family.

The health industry should be characterised by compassion, a strong service ethic and total commitment to patient care.

We cannot accept substandard service or mix-ups such as the placement of an alleged perpetrator next to a victim.

Dawn, therefore, calls on the Eastern Cape department of health to put patients and the families first, to make absolutely sure that promises are upheld, and that our patients and their loved ones come first, no matter who they are or where they come from. The Hippocratic Oath should always be honoured. Dawn cares. — Celeste Barker MPL, Bhisho and Dawn provincial chairperson