Pressing issue

Life Ndlovu, Masiphumelele

On Tuesday September 15, I went to False Bay Hospital. When I got to the door of the reception area, I was told that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms is not allowed in.

I respect that and understand it. I was taken to the tent and had to join the queue and sit in the open space with the other patients coughing and sneezing in the cold, some with babies on their backs.

The trouble started when I needed the toilet.

I stood at the Covid-19 tent door and asked the lady for the toilet.

She said they had no toilets there and I had better go to the next building and ask for a toilet. It is just next to the tent. I walked there and next to the entrance there were four or five security-guard women with one gentlemen basking in the sun.

I asked them if I could get in and use the toilet. The one woman responded by saying that the nurse did not allow people from the Covid-19 tent to enter there and use the
toilet.

I asked where I could go as I really needed the toilet. The women said all the toilets were blocked – the story had changed within a few min-
utes.

The security guard said I should go to the admin block and ask for the toilet. I told them that they screened people there and if you had a sore throat you were not allowed in.

The women said I could go there and lie to them. I told them that I am not a liar naturally. I then told them that just for the sake of my dignity, I had to go to my car and relieve myself there instead of wetting my clothes in front of everyone.

When I walked towards my car, a male security guard ran after me and said, “Mam, come back, I will escort you to the admin block.”

I then turned around and followed the gentleman, with my knees rubbing each other to try to avoid wetting myself. What a shame. The ladies remained sitting there and laughing.

Finally the male security guard took me there and asked his colleagues who were by the door to allow me
in.

When I came out walking properly again, I still wore shame all over my face. What an embarrassment.

My question is, where are the facilities for those people who come to test for Covid-19 or those who are just coughing?

Are we expected to sit there in the cold for hours and not use a toilet and pee in our pants? This is not okay. I think these people are stigmatised and their dignity is being stolen from them.

* Dr Wendy Waddington, manager for medical services at False Bay Hospital, responds: We sincerely apologise for the patient’s negative experience. The
matter will be addressed with all staff concerned.

We have since put up a notice to ensure that patients are aware of where the restroom facilities are.

All patients waiting in the tent can make use of the restroom facilities in the main building. This has been the arrangement since the tent was erected.

We appeal to the patient to follow our complaints procedure so that management can address this with the staff members concerned.