Friday, 20 March 2015 13:33

Corpses left on beds 'for hours' at Free State hospital

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Bloemfontein - A Free State hospital is in the headlines again, this time for allegedly leaving corpses lying on beds for hours while letting one man die under suspicious circumstances.


One of the people whose body was left on a bed at Dihlabeng Regional Hospital in Bethlehem is Frik Balanco, a 65-year-old man who was hospitalised in December last year when he experienced pains in his chest and stomach, reported the Mail & Guardian.

Balanco’s wife, Maritsa, said his death in January this year was very suspicious. Doctors had told her that “old age” was a contributing factor to his death.

Maritsa said she often arrived at his bedside in ICU and saw the bodies of patients who had died hours earlier lying next to him.


And a day after he died on 29 January, Maritsa recounted to the newspaper how Balanco’s body had to be carried down four flights of stairs because the hospital lifts weren’t working.

She said there was a strong stench of “rotten, wet bodily fluids”.

Doctors have also complained about rats in the hospital, which were drawn there because waste removal had stopped after the removal company had not been paid.

In July last year, Dihlabeng made headlines when a critically ill woman was denied a bed in ICU because provincial ANC officials had ordered that a high-ranking office bearer be admitted to the ward.

The M&G reported at the time that the woman later died in a general ward.

Sapa had also reported in July last year that the Treatment Action Campaign had called for the suspension of Free State Health MEC Dr Benny Malakoane over “his conduct and failure to act [over problems in the health sector]".

In June 2014, the SA Medical Association warned that patient lives and medical jobs were at risk because of a lack of money.

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