Ouma Martha Marais is ok after being tied up at the Mamelodi regional hospital. Photo: Facebook.
Ouma Martha Marais, the 76-year old woman found tied up to a bench at the Mamelodi regional hospital on 29 May, is “doing okay” according to her family.
“She is eating and it is going a bit better. She is now receiving the necessary treatment,” Virginia Keppler, representative for the Marais family told Rekord.
“We can’t point any fingers at this stage because we don’t know exactly who gave the instruction to tie up ouma Martha and who did it, but we as the family feel everyone on duty during the incident should be held accountable.”
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Keppler said the family is strongly considering legal action.
“Ouma is dissatisfied. She is scared and traumatised.”
Keppler told Rekord when the family visited Marais on Wednesday evening at around 20:00 they were shocked when they didn’t find her in her bed.
“There was another person in the bed using the blanket the family had brought from home earlier in the day.”
She said they found Marais tied up under a steel bench.
“We are not sure how long she was tied up for. When they untied her, she immediately wanted to eat because she was so hungry”.
Marais’ kierie has also been missing since the incident.
“Because of ouma’s hip operation a few years ago, she walks with a kierie. We have no idea what happened to it.”
Keppler said the family later also met the security guard who helped them untie Marais and thanked him for his help.
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She claimed a custom lock, which needed a key to unlock, was used to restrain her.
“We couldn’t simply cut it off with a knife or anything,” she said.
Video and photos of Marais’ bad treatment spread like wildfire on social media, prompting newly appointed Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku to visit the hospital late afternoon on Thursday 30.
Masuku said he was “shocked” by the incident.
“We must maintain the dignity of our patients and our officials should maintain high level of professionalism,” Masuku said.
“At face value, it appears that the patient was ill-treated and the standard operating procedure was not followed to the latter.”
Both the minister and the MEC have instructed that a “full investigation be carried out”.
“Officials who were involved in this incident should not be allowed to interact with the patients,” the department said in a statement.
“Substandard services and ill-treatment of vulnerable members of our society who depend on the public health system should not be tolerated.”
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