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Shopping bag to cover septic wound

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“Subjectively used for political expediency and self-seeking interests by a DA Member of Parliament”.

A YOUNG man’s septic wound has been covered with a blue plastic shopping bag after the necessary supplies for the cleaning and covering of the wound were apparently not available at the hospital.

DA member of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Delmaine Christians, yesterday called on Health MEC, Mase Manopole, to urgently intervene and ensure proper levels of medical care were being provided at the Robert Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley.

“My telephone calls to the CEO of Robert Sobukwe Hospital have repeatedly gone unanswered, with only the shortest possible messages being sent in reply to concerns raised,” Christians said yesterday, adding that it was probably “from shame and embarrassment that the doctor wishes to avoid being confronted with the true state of affairs in the hospital”.

He alleged further that the operating theatre was becoming a “potential mortuary for every patient unlucky enough to enter”.

“The first incident of which I am aware involves the truly horrific, inhumane lack of care provided to a young man admitted to the hospital for a burst ulcer. But the incredible suffering of a burst ulcer was, unfortunately, just the start of his ordeal.

“According to the patient’s mother, the patient was sent back to the operating theatre eight more times within twelve weeks after the first operation as septicemia set in around the initial wound.”

Christains said that with the sepsis spreading daily, more and more flesh had to be cut from the man’s body as a preventative measure.

“In the meantime, the patient was not given antibiotics nor did he receive the standard vacuum treatment used in cases like these. It was only the day after one of my many attempts to contact the doctor that the patient’s wound was cleaned and that he underwent the necessary vacuum treatment to drain pus from the wound.”

Christians stated that the quality of care then suffered a relapse.

“The sickness has now reached the point where the patient has developed a perforation in his intestines and faeces leaks into his open abdominal cavity. Due to the advanced levels of decay, normal sutures will not be sufficient to close the wound and doctors cannot just stitch him back up anymore.”

According to Christains, the patient had a weekend pass.

“However, he took a turn for the worse and was readmitted to hospital on Saturday. While the doctor in charge of the ward promised to provide an intravenous feeding tube, it appears that this had not yet been done by Tuesday morning, and, since the necessary supplies for cleaning and dressing the wound properly was not in stock, the nursing staff resorted to using a blue plastic shopping bag to cover the wound.

“The MEC for Health cannot allow that any person is subjected to this kind of cruelty. In fact, nobody with a heart can stand idly by while the lives of our people are being placed at risk and when the treatment can prove to be more deadly than the cure,” Christains said.

MEC of Health, Mase Manopole, said yesterday that she noted with deep concern the manner in which a patient’s health was “subjectively used for political expediency and self-seeking interests by a DA Member of Parliament”.

Spokesperson for the MEC, Lebogang Majaha, pointed out that “if Christians was genuine, she would have escalated this matter to the MEC and allowed the issue to be investigated without delay”.

“The accusation levelled against the MEC in the statement, wherein she is being portrayed as a leader who allows people to be subjected to this kind of alleged cruelty, is malicious and devoid of any truth. The preliminary report has been submitted to MEC, and it contradicts other aspects on the DA statement.

“The MEC, as a responsible leader, categorically will not contravene patients’ rights or discuss their conditions in the public domain,” Majaha stated further.