by Andrew Louw – DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate
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Date: 10 January 2019
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape has reported the Northern Cape Department of Health to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) following the gross mismanagement of a patient suffering from gangrene. Click here for a photo (please note that the photo is of a graphic nature).
This comes after Piet Rooi, from Klipfontein in the Namaqualand area, who is due to undergo a leg amputation next week, received abysmal medical treatment for gangrene from the Garies Hospital, over a period of time.
This week, Rooi, who previously lost his other leg to an amputation, also due to poorly managed gangrene, was eventually transported hundreds of kilometres to Springbok Hospital by DA MPL, Veronica Van Dyk, due to the unavailability of a state ambulance to ensure his transfer.
Rooi’s painful journey first started in 2017. On at least two separate visits to the hospital, there was either no bed or no anaesthetist available to assist in providing the necessary healthcare to Rooi. He was eventually referred to the Springbok Hospital. When Rooi arrived at the hospital, nurses found Rooi’s rotten foot infested with worms. At the time, nurses informed Rooi’s family that if he had received the necessary treatment from Garies Hospital timeously, this could have prevented the amputation.
Since April last year, Rooi, whose other foot also started showing signs of gangrene, has been living in unbearable pain and has again had to travel to and from Garies hospital in a failed attempt to access health care. As before, Rooi received poor quality treatment. His foot was not properly examined and he was only prescribed tablets and told that he needn’t worry about the wound on his foot.
Inevitably the wound grew bigger and more painful. In November last year, Rooi was sent home without medication. According to a family member, despite his foot being in a visible state of decay, the clinic nurse and community health worker were not willing to assist in cleaning the wound. See pic here.
Aside from the ill treatment of Rooi, healthcare professionals at Garies hospital have also been accused of refusing to provide proper medical attention to Rooi’s wife (72), who accompanied him on all his hospital trips. She lost her eyesight late 2017.
It is unacceptable that healthcare in the rural areas of the province is treated with such a nonchalant and uncaring attitude. Better treatment and care may have saved Rooi’s legs.
The DA has reported this matter to the SAHRC and to Health MEC, Fufe Makatong, as we cannot tolerate medical negligence that risks people’s lives and destroys their futures.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure that life threatening cases are adequately treated in hospitals, that health facilities are properly staffed and that healthcare professionals have all the necessary tools of trade available at their disposal.