Pelonomi hospital (Bloemfontein SA) killed my mother!

A Free State man has blamed Bloemfontein’s Pelonomi Hospital for the death of his mother, who died last Thursday, three months after being admitted to the hospital with a broken leg.

Kathlene van Heerden and her son, Hendrik. (Netwerk24)

Kathlene van Heerden and her son, Hendrik. (Netwerk24)

Hendrik van Heerden, 38, told Netwerk24’s Marietjie Gericke that he had visited his mother every day for the last three months, and had begged doctors, nursing staff and hospital management to save her.

Kathlene van Heerden, 61, fell and broke her leg just after Christmas. She did not have medical aid and was admitted to Pelonomi, where she waited six weeks for surgery.


Van Heerden went to the media while she was awaiting surgery. After Volksblad newspaper reported on her plight, the Free State provincial health department ordered that she be operated on immediately.

However, the leg became septic after the operation and her condition worsened, despite his attempts to speak to doctors and hospital management.

A window in her ward was broken and rain would fall through it. The window was eventually repaired with a piece of cardboard.

Van Heerden said he was distraught last Thursday when it became clear that his mother was dying, but staff told him it was not the time to point fingers but rather to pray. Hospital security was then called to remove him.

“Pelonomi hospital finally killed my mother,” a distraught Van Heerden said. She died in front of him, and doctors did not want to help, he said.

Carte Blanche interview

Van Heerden also spoke to Carte Blanche about his mother’s death.


Free State health officials said a report will be sent to the MEC for health, and it will examine whether the correct procedures were followed and if there was any negligence.

In July last year, the DA described the Free State health system as a “moral and constitutional failure”. This came after a visit to various health facilities in the province. The party launched a review of nine state hospitals nationwide, exposing staff and medicine shortages and poor conditions for patients.

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