KZN Health investigates claim of needle left in jaw

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KwaZulu-Natal Health is investigating yet another allegation of negligence after an object thought to be part of a needle was left in a man’s jaw when he was operated on last year, reports The Star.

Mandla Sithole, 28, from Paulpietersburg in the north of the province, slipped and fell at work in November 2017 and broke his jawbone. Sithole was rushed to a private general practitioner who recommended that he be seen by an orthopaedic specialist. “The doctor said I had a broken jaw and that surgery was required, but I had no money to travel between home and Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg,” he said. “In January 2018, I went to a local health-care centre where X-rays were taken, proving that I had broken my jaw. “I was referred to Grey’s Hospital for an operation to fix the jaw bone. The surgery was performed around July, after I’d been sent from pillar to post. I was discharged and told to return after two weeks for check-ups.”

According to the report, Sithole said he suffered excruciating pain from the operation and could not go to work. He says he started bleeding through the nose, which prompted him to go back to the clinic, where painkillers were recommended, at his expense, allegedly by Grey’s Hospital.

In February this year he went to Madadeni Hospital in Newcastle, where X-rays showed an object lodged in his jaw. Sithole believes it could have broken off from a tool used in his operation. “I then went back to Grey’s and the doctor who operated on me was rude, asking who had called me to the hospital. He didn’t even bother to look into the X-rays from Madadeni,” he said, adding that he had no desire to go back to government health-care facilities after his ordeal. When the matter reached the attention of Grey’s management, an official called Sithole to arrange for check-ups.

Department spokesperson Noluthando Nkosi is quoted in the report as saying that action would be taken once the facts were established.

The Star report (subscription needed)

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