Mamelodi hospital accused of KILLING son by switching off life support without family’s consent

A Pretoria family is accusing Mamelodi Regional Hospital of killing their son by switching off his life support without them getting a chance to say goodbye.

The family has turned to non-profit organisation Rea Thusa/We Help to assist in lodging a complaint with the Gauteng Department of Health.

PRETORIA MAN SUDDENLY GETS SICK AND RUSHED TO MAMELODI HOSPITAL

Reinhard Oliphant, 36, felt numbness on the side of his body on Sunday 15 May. After calling an ambulance, it was discovered that he had suffered a mild stroke and was taken to the Mamelodi Regional Hospital.

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“After a second brain scan where a tumour was discovered on his brain, Oliphant was diagnosed as brain dead,” said Rea Thusa/We Help founder Virginia Keppler.

While the family was not in denial of Oliphant’s condition, they requested the hospital a few more hours to gather family members around his bed. The family wanted to say a prayer and hold his hand until his heart stopped, said Keppler.

“His family and parents did not want him to die alone. This was not too much to ask.”

Virginia Keppler

Reinhardt Oliphant was declared brain dead before the hospital switched off his life support. PHOTO: Rea Thusa/We Help

THE HOSPITAL APPARENTLY SWITCHED OFF LIFE SUPPORT ANYWAY

According to the family and Keppler, the hospital was begged for a few more hours. Instead, they realiSed that the hospital switched off Oliphant’s life support. This happened four days after his admission.

“The hospital management showed no empathy towards his family and could not explain why they promised to keep him on life support for a few more hours. Instead, they just coldly told the family that they switched the machines off that night and about 40 minutes later, he was declared dead.”

The sudden death left the Oliphant family traumatised and suffering. Instead, Oliphant’s mother seems to be putting blame on herself for not guarding her son in his hospital bed.

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“The hospital cannot be trusted to keep its promises. This is inhumane, it is disgraceful and an absolute shame that the ones who should be more in touch with humanity are as cold as ice. The Department of Health should be held responsible for what happened here,” said Keppler.  

Keppler confirmed that a complaint was lodged with the department.

GAUTENG HEALTH SAYS DENIES CLAIMS

The Gauteng Health Department says they are aware of the complaint. But the Oliphant family was informed and counselled for three days by the hospital regarding their son’s condition, said spokesperson Motaletale Modiba.

“The family did consent to the process of de-escalation transpired where Mr. Oliphant was removed from breathing with a ventilator machine to breathing with normal oxygen. This means that the patient was allowed to breathe naturally until there was no sign of life,” said Modiba.

He said once the doctors at the hospital have made all the required medical means and have determined that the matter is beyond them due to the patient’s condition. There is nothing else that can be done.

“The doctor in charge will counsel the family and advise them on the best cause of action and allow them to ask questions until they can fully comprehend the situation.”

“Our primary responsibility as a Department is to preserve lives. The loss of such a young life as that of Mr Oliphant is a great tragedy. Therefore, we would like to send our deepest condolences to the Oliphant family.”

Motaletale Modiba

MAMELODI HOSPITAL IS LYING

Keppler said the family received no counselling, not even after his death. The Oliphant family has only been informed of his condition, diagnoses and prognoses.

“The family did not give permission to have his life support switched off. The report that they gave permission is a blatant lie. His mother, Faith Modau, would never have left her son’s bedside if that was the case,” said Keppler.

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