KZN Health rejects patient’s mistreatment claims

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KwaZulu-Natal Health has poured cold water on claims made by a Pinetown man that he was mistreated in a state hospital in Durban, reports News24.

Health department spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said his allegations were incompatible with details contained in his medical file. “The department has noted with concern allegations raised by the newspaper, which are contrary to the patient records that contain clinical information as well as information about the management of the concerned patient.

“However, due to the fact that patient clinical information is confidential, and a matter between clinicians and healthcare users, the public does not always get balanced information as the department may not discuss such information with other parties, except if it is authorised by law to do so,” he added.

“The department can state that it has been informed by management of one of its hospitals that a certain patient has been admitted for the past three weeks, and continues to receive the highest possible level of care possible,” Mkhwanazi said.


It was earlier reported in News24 that the Pinetown resident fears losing the use of his limb after he says indifferent hospital staff left the wound open for hours on end.

Riaan van der Westhuizen, 31, also says that he lay unattended in the casualty ward unit of RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth before his heart stopped. Only when his wife started CPR did her frantic screams gain the attention of medical staff, who rushed him into theatre. With a critical loss of blood, Van der Westhuizen said his heart stopped three times while undergoing surgery.

The report says his brush with death was the beginning of his two-week ordeal in the hospital. He says his wound was left open for hours on end and his complaints ignored.
It eventually became infected.

Van der Westhuizen is quoted in the report as saying that his ordeal began when he was in his bakkie on 28 December and an apparent hijacker attacked him. An ambulance rushed to his aid and transported him to the state medical facility. “I lay in casualty bleeding for two hours before I was seen. I basically died and my wife jumped on me and started to resuscitate me. Then a doctor saw this and intervened and rushed me into theatre,” he said. “They lost me three times in theatre… all my veins collapsed because I lost so much blood.”

Van der Westhuizen spent two days in ICU before being moved into a ward and, the report says, he fears this move, and the treatment he claims to have received at the hands of indifferent nurses, could cost him the use of his arm.

“Every second day they opened my wound to clean it but they would leave it open for six hours before they cleaned it and dressed it again. They ignored me when I complained about this. People have so many problems in this ward and I didn’t want my arm open because I was worried I would catch something,” he said.

“The orthopaedic surgeon came to me and said they needed to do a tendon and nerve repair in an operation and so last week, every day, they would starve me and then in the afternoon they would come and say that the surgery had to be delayed.”

“They took me into theatre on the Friday. The surgeon went through my file and found out that I had an infection, they had not even said anything about it to him. I blame the nurses for leaving my arm open,” Van der Westhuizen said.

“You don’t want to see this place on the inside. Now I am in this shitty place and they came to me wanting to expose my arm. I told them to get everything ready so they can clean it and close it. Because of the way it was handled before I already have an infection.”

News24 report
News24 report

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