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Touching video goes viral: Woman helplessly screams for help as she fails to breathe at Durban hospital

A viral video of a woman shouting for help and patients lying on the floor while waiting for their Covid-19 results has spurred the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health into making major adjustments at Durban’s Wentworth Hospital.

Woman helplessly screams for help as she fails to breathe at Durban hospital

On Monday, KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, said they were made aware about the video and a team was dispatched to the hospital to investigate.

The video shows a woman lying on a bed in a room with other patients.

“I can’t breathe! Please get me out of here! Please get me out of here! I’m gonna die like this,” the woman screams. She beckons to someone to help her and he responds that he cannot move.

“I’ve asked everybody to help me. Nobody wants to help me. I can’t live like this,” the woman shouts.

At least four other patients are inside the room, two are lying on the floor and a third appears to be asleep. The fourth is the person recording the video.


According to Simelane-Zulu, their investigations revealed that patients seen in the video were waiting for their Covid results and, on the day in question, the hospital had received a particularly high number of patients.

“On that day, 11 doctors were in isolation after they tested positive and 17 nurses were off due to Covid-19. Furthermore, six nurses were in charge of the Accidents and Emergency Unit as well as a short-stay ward with very sick patients,” she said.

She said they would be making changes at the hospital to make the necessary accommodations.

She said the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Unit would be shifted around to make more space for beds and patients who were recovering from Covid-19 would be sent to Clairwood Hospital while those who needed oxygen would be sent to isolation. Simelane-Zulu said Covid Rapid tests would be made available to assist in reducing the time that patients spend waiting for results.

The MEC thanked the nursing staff for their efforts.

“We sincerely appreciate the profoundly good work that is being done by our tireless front-line workers, and staff across the board, to help the province square up to this pandemic.

We call upon the public to play their part and help us fight this pandemic, by adhering to the safety protocols, such as wearing of face masks when out in public, regular hand-washing with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizers, and maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 to 2 metres between themselves and other people.

The MEC has also condemned the filming and distribution of the video footage.

“This is indecent, and tantamount to the violation of patients’ inalienable right to privacy and dignity,” she said.

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