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Patient back to square one despite court order

A patient who sustained a broken leg since April, cannot undergo the necessary surgery as ordered by the High Court in Gauteng because the hospital he needs to be transferred to, doesn’t have the required orthopaedic material in stock

October 13, 2015

De Meyer De Vries Attorneys | Dingaan Mngomezulu

Dingaan Mngomezulu

HAZYVIEW – A High Court ruling ordering the provincial Department of Health to immediately provide an orthopaedic patient with the required treatment to have his fractured leg repaired, has been to no avail.

The patient cannot be transferred to a regional hospital to undergo surgery since it doesn’t have the required orthopaedic material.

On Friday Lowvelder reported on Mr Dingaan Mngomezulu (34) who broke his right upper leg in April. He has been bedridden ever since and only gets up to go to the bathroom with a walking aid. Mngomezulu was first admitted to Matikwane Hospital where he was put in traction. He would lie here for 12 weeks, without any signs of improvement.

A friend, Ms Isdora Vorster, took him to Dr Corné Ackermann, a private orthopaedic surgeon, who found that his leg had shortened by five centimetres during his stay at Matikwane and that he would be permanently disabled as a result. She supplied Vorster with a report stating that surgery was his only salvation and that it had to performed as soon as possible.

Vorster took Mngomezulu’s case to De Meyer De Vries Attorneys. She instructed advocates to file an urgent application at the High Court in Gauteng which would order the department to take a more aggressive approach regarding his treatment.

It wasn’t viewed as urgent and was postponed to September 30. In the meantime, Vorster took him to Rob Ferreira Hospital to see if he couldn’t be assisted. He was turned away on various occasions because Rob Ferreira also didn’t have the required material.

This publication reported last month that the department had advertised an open bid for the supply and delivery of orthopaedic material, but it couldn’t be finalised due to technical problems and had to be re-advertised. Companies that supply this in the interim do not have all the required material in stock.

On September 30 the department requested a postponement which wasn’t granted and the matter was merely stood down until October 2 to allow it the time to motivate why the court shouldn’t grant the order. The matter was finally heard on October 2 and the judge, Mr Justice Fabricius, ordered that Mngomezulu be provided with the necessary care immediately.

He further assigned himself as case manager and ordered the department to provide him with a report, stating which steps it would take to assist the patient.

It was expected that health would see to it that Mngomezulu be admitted to a hospital where surgery could be performed as soon as possible. On the contrary, the department replied that he had to be readmitted to Matikwane.

According to its referral policy, a patient must first be admitted to a district hospital (Matikwane). If the patient cannot be properly treated here, he/she needs to be transferred to a regional hospital (Themba) and then to a provincial one (Rob Ferreira) if necessary.

He cannot undergo the required surgery at Matikwane and should therefore be sent to Themba. He was seen by a doctor at Matikwane yesterday who told him that he could not be transferred to Themba. “The doctor said I needed to go to Themba for the operation. However, they don’t have the required pins.”

Mngomezulu is just lying in Matikwane. Although the department insisted in its defence that traction was an adequate form of treatment, the patient hasn’t been placed in traction again. He is currently only receiving pain medication. De Meyer De Vries Attorneys has already instructed the legal team to update Fabricius.

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