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Man still waiting on operation weeks after court order

Surgery is now apparently being delayed because of the patient’s underlying medical condition. However, a physician has confirmed that this is not contraindicative of the surgery

October 30, 2015

De Meyer De Vries Attorneys | Dingaan Mngomezulu

Dingaan Mngomezulu

MBOMBELA – Mr Dingaan Mngomezulu, who the High Court in Gauteng ruled should be immediately assisted by the provincial Department of Health to have his broken leg fixed, is still waiting in vain.

An underlying medical condition is now being given as an excuse as to why he cannot be operated on. A physician has confirmed that this condition is in no way contraindicative of the surgery.

It is suspected that the ongoing critical shortage of orthopaedic surgeons and consequent orthopaedic surgical backlog may be the actual reason, as the department has confirmed that there are currently 29 other patients in the same hospital waiting on surgery.

Lowvelder reported on Mngomezulu’s case earlier this month. He had suffered a broken leg in April. He was taken to Matikwane Hospital where the leg was put in traction. He lay there for months until a family friend assisted to discharge him.

She took him to Dr Corné Ackermann, a private orthopaedic surgeon who found that the leg hadn’t healed and had, in fact, shortened by five centimetres. She said surgery was the only viable option to repair the leg. However, he would be left permanently disabled.

De Meyer De Vries Attorneys, instructed advocates to bring an urgent application before court which ordered the department to assist Mngomezulu.

In the meantime, he went to Rob Ferreira Hospital for help, but was turned away on numerous occasions because of a lack of orthopaedic material.

The judge, Mr Justice Fabricius finally ruled in favour of Mngomezulu, ordering the department to immediately render him the necessary care. The surgery can only be performed in either Themba or Rob Ferreira, but, according to the department’s referral system, Mngomezulu had to be readmitted to Matikwane in order to be referred.

He was later transferred to Themba, but surgery is yet to be performed. De Meyer De Vries Attorneys has been informed that it is being delayed because of the medical condition Mngomezulu suffers from. “The only contraindication to internal fixation of the leg as the patient requires, is active infection of skin muscle or bone. His condition is not an exclusion to surgery after trauma,” the physician said.

Mr Dumisani Malamule, spokesman for the department, said orthopaedic surgery is performed at Themba on Mondays and every second Friday. “There are 29 patients waiting for orthopaedic surgery in Themba alone,” he said.

“The department is still finalising the list of patients to be transferred to Themba, Rob Ferreira and Witbank hospitals as these are the three health facilities where surgeons are located. It should further be noted that the department is still head hunting more surgeons. Since this is a highly specialised field, the country in its entirety is grappling with the shortage of the doctors hence we have also expanded our venture abroad.”

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