TRAGEDY: Sheryl, 61, is dying of cancer after being misdiagnosed. Photo: SUPPLIED

What is going on at our state hospitals?

This week, the Daily Voice covered no fewer than THREE cases where mense had horrible experiences, and in each of those cases, the doctors and nurses involved appeared to be incompetent, uncaring and unhelpful.

The exact opposite of what they signed up for when they joined the medical profession.

In the case of Sheryl Biggs, 61, who was misdiagnosed with diarrhoea at False Bay Hosptial for over a year, it is too late.

She was eventually diagnosed with colon cancer, and doctors have now given her only weeks to live.

BEFORE: Sheryl Biggs.Photo: SUPPLIED

While health authorities have apologised for their mistake, this is cold comfort for her family, who firmly believe that the once vibrant woman could have been successfully treated had she been correctly diagnosed timeously.

Doctors at Groote Schuur Hospital could not save the baby of Saajidah Samuels Abrahams, 28, but her agony could have been alleviated if nurses had been more compassionate, and just did their job.

The Bridgetown mom spoke of her horror of losing her second child last week, claiming that nurses were chatting and eating while she miscarried in her hospital bed, despite her desperate calls for help.


“I was so weak. I called out to the nurses and said I needed to be changed. Only one answered, [saying] ‘yes, Mrs Abrahams’, but no one came inside the ward,” she said.

“I took pictures of the one nurse preparing [cornflakes] and of the other eating lunch.”

Saadjidah’s tale of horror received a lot of reaction on our Facebook page, and shockingly, hers is not unique.

Terrible service at government health facilities seems to be the norm, and in fact, people commended the mom for her “bravery” for speaking out.

Many people commented that health services have gone down the drain over the past 15 years or so.

Gone are the days when nursing was a calling when you had to have a passion and compassion for people and their well-being, when you were committed to aiding the ill and infirm, and alleviating their pain and suffering to the best of your ability.

As Lorraine Brydon commented: “I worked at GSH for 13 years about 30 years ago... then nursing and healthcare was still topped.

“Medical personnel had work ethics, the love for their profession and patient care was of the utmost importance. Patients always came first and the medical personnel displayed pride.


“Nowadays we have the millennial generation that does nursing for the money and see it as a way of earning an income.

“They pass their time on shift glued to their cellphones... they have no respect for the sick or dying, neither for patients or their relatives.”

“There are good and dedicated personnel, the old school generation but they are such a minority that they are overlooked.”

Nurses do not take the Hippocratic Oath, instead, and depending on where they study, they take what is called the Nightingale Oath, named after the most famous nurse of all, Florence Nightingale.

It ends with: “...and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

That is the cornerstone of nursing, and our nurses would do well to ask themselves exactly why they chose this profession again.

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