“I said swak….not swart” Member of public vents his frustration over service at clinic – nurse misunderstood words as racist

A father of two shared his bad experience this week at the hands of staff at the Mondesa clinic in Tulinawa at Swakopmund. The incident ended on a sour note when his words were also misunderstood as racist. A nurse informed him he will “never” be helped there again.

Fabian Steenkamp, a father of two was shocked and in dismay when he approached namib times offices about an incident that happened earlier on Tuesday morning when he took his family to Mondesa clinic in Tulinawa, Swakopmund.
Steenkamp went to the clinic in the morning to take his family, his six year old daughter was sick, his two year old boy had to go for immunisation and his lady is expecting a baby.
According to Steenkamp, the clinic was very busy that day because there were a lot of people and at around twelve, while they were sitting waiting for assistance from the nurses, something which sounded like a gas bottle exploded in the clinic and everyone in the clinic started to panic and was running out of the clinic “I grabbed my two year old son and got up because the other people were storming out of the clinic. My son fell on the floor and I could see how everyone was running over him as he lay right there and every time I tried to reach for him someone pushed me out the way” Steenkamp noted.
He said he managed to grab his child from the floor a while later and went to a nurse to ask if she could assist him, just to see if the child was okay and asked for the nurse to do a check up on the child because many people ran over him and stepped on him, but the nurse was very rude to him and told him to wait for the doctor. “Why should I wait for the doctor to do an observation on my child while you are here? You are a nurse, you should be helping people in cases of emergencies while the doctor is not here and you are the ones responsible for what happened here”. Steenkamp says things got out of hand and they started to argue. The nurse went to call another nurse to her rescue and the quarrel continued. Steenkamp says he decided to leave the room and as he was leaving he said “julle dienste is swak” and this also caused havoc because they misunderstood him and thought he said “swart” and took it as a racism thing. “As I was leaving the room one nurse told me I should not come back to the clinic because they will never help me, and my daughter is still very ill” add Steenkamp. Steenkamp says when he asked the nurses where the sound came from they just said they were busy testing their oxygen tanks “they should have at least warned us” Steenkamp adds.
According to Steenkamp, after the incident he decided to take his family to the Swakopmund State Hospital, but they were turned down and told to go back to the clinic because that’s the procedure, you need to go to the clinic to be referred to the hospital, which Steenkamp feels is unnecessary because there are doctors at the clinic. “So what is the purpose of the hospital if we can’t get treated there”. Steenkamp says he drove around from clinic to hospital to the next clinic to try and get help until his car ran out of diesel. “I went to the Hospital with the hope of seeing the superintendent to discuss the matter with her but she was unavailable. I sat at her office for a very long time with my sick daughter in the car, but she just did not show up until now when I decided to come to namib times to ask for help and to find out where I can get help within the health department and what measures I should take against the nurses”. Steenkamp feels it was not good for the nurses to brush him off like that, because they could even see that his daughter was sick, but they took everything so lightly and did not show any interest in his son. “What can one do when something like that happens? Who do you turn to for help?” asked Steenkamp.
The Director of Health Mr Jeremiah Nghipundjwa is not in town for comment, but the private secretary to the director said Mr Steenkamp went to their office about the issue and she advised Steenkamp to write a letter in which he lay his complaint so that the director can look into it when he returns to the office next week. After Steenkamp went to the director’s office he went to the hospital after five “I went to sit in the queue at the hospital and only got help at around twelve on Tuesday evening” says Steenkamp during an interview with namib times. Steenkamp further said that he is not planning to drop the issue and wants to make sure the rude nurses are dealt with, because a child is just a child, you cannot refuse to treat a child he says.

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