Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hospital care ANC style - enter with minor burns to hands, leave minus legs

This is just horrific.

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A distraught Gauteng mother is suing provincial health authorities for maiming her daughter.

She took her two-year-old daughter to hospital to be treated for burns on her hands, but the girl left with both feet amputated.

And Celina Kometsi won't be swayed after Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu's visit to her Daveyton home on Friday - two months after the horrific incident - where she vowed to get to the bottom of the tragedy that crippled little Thembisa Nikelo for life after poor treatment at Far East Rand Hospital in Springs and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.

Kometsi, a dressmaker, believes the intravenous drips that staff at Far East Rand Hospital inserted into her daughter's feet caused the gangrene that turned them into blackened stumps.

"I'm still busy with my lawyer," Kometsi told the Saturday Star after the MEC's visit. "I don't trust what they (the government) are promising."

Kometsi said the toddler burnt her hands on September 15 when she accidentally plunged them into boiling bathwater in the family's shack. Her mother rushed her to the nearby Phillip Moyo Clinic, which transferred her to Far East Rand Hospital.

"There was no treatment. They just wrapped her burns and gave her Panados."

Her daughter then developed diarrhoea and vomited. "They gave her a powder for it, but couldn't explain what it was. She still had diarrhoea."

On September 18, nurses inserted a drip into one of her feet and then another containing blood into her other foot. They also administered two drips containing fluid in her foot, which lasted three hours.

"My daughter was rolling around on the bed. She started getting pains. Her feet were swollen and started to turn purple. I was worried as she was in a bad condition."

She later found out that her daughter had been transferred to Charlotte Maxeke on September 20.

"No one told me she had been moved. They cleaned her burn wounds, which were dirty. They said my child's legs were damaged from gangrene. I asked how that happened. They said that because she had burns, some of her veins were blocked and blood was not flowing to her legs.

"I told them I didn't think it was the burns, but that the drips had damaged her. She can't walk and can't do anything. I want answers. I don't believe what they're saying."

Both of Thembisa's legs were amputated below the knee on October 9. "She was in terrible pain and cried all the time. She was discharged on October 16 with only a bottle of Panado for the pain."

A bottle of antibiotics that she received was half empty.

Kometsi didn't use them. "I have only used Panado until now. A nurse gave me some cottonwool and told me to wash it so that I could use it again."

The dressmaker has no income as she devotes all her time to caring for Thembisa, a bubbly child who hid her bandaged limbs under a blanket during the Saturday Star's visit.

"She is scared for people to see her condition. We've been told it will take five years before she gets artificial legs."

It took enquiries from the Saturday Star for health authorities to react, and MEC Mahlangu on Friday described the incident as a "travesty of justice".

She shook her head in disbelief as she stared at photos of Thembisa's gangrenous limbs.

"Oh my God, I'm so sorry, my baby," she said, embracing the child. "We're going to get to the bottom of the problem.

"This is a really sad story. I'm not a doctor but I can't understand how this child went into hospital with burnt hands and ended up with amputated feet. I don't believe it. If the doctors are found negligent they will face the music.

"I'll get to the bottom of why she was treated like this, why she ended up losing her feet. I need each and every one of the nurses and doctors to explain to me how this happened. It is really unacceptable. Our hospitals can't subject poor people to this kind of treatment. There is a burns unit at Chris Hani-Baragwanath. Why was she not sent there? The (hospital) managers seem not to care about the patient," Mahlangu said, pledging to find ways to get the child mobile and deliver the "right antibiotics" to her home today.

But Mahlangu's position contradicts an earlier report issued by Far East Rand Hospital to the family, which stated that her "general condition on admission was not good".

Its investigation showed that "the death of tissue in her legs was due to her blood being prone to clots as she had suffered burns and diarrhoea and was also short of oxygen due to pneumonia she was suffering at the time".

But Kometsi doesn't accept this: "They took me as if I know nothing. I know what happened to my child. I was there from beginning to end. I saw how they put the drips in.

"There was nothing wrong with her besides her burns. I won't agree with them until they tell me my child was injured by their drips." - The Star

H/T: Black Coffee

4 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

The is not surprising in the new South Africa. If she had a headache, they would have cut off her head.

Anonymous said...

This sad story should be plastered all over the European media. It would elicit billions of Rands in aid from those bleeding heart liberal brain washed whites over there. Then mother and child could live a life of luxury while at the same time the third world medical facilities in the New Arseania would be exposed.

Anonymous said...

Speaking to some Australian Dr's recently, they noted that so many SA doctors are now in Australia with the experience the Aussie Dr's don't have (eg. gun shots; knife wounds etc). That's why they are so in demand as the local Dr's don't get enough experience here. The SA dr's also have a fantastic reputation so they are very welcome.

Anonymous said...

Hey thats not really new. It also used to happen in the old South Africa. The best ones had always been Tygerberg Hospital. They would amputate the wrong leg. They did not figure his left leg or the doctors left.