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HomeFrom the FrontlinesFour gunshot wounds but a two-week wait for surgery at George Mukhari...

Four gunshot wounds but a two-week wait for surgery at George Mukhari Academic Hospital

Godfrey Thulare lay in a ward at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital for two weeks awaiting surgery for the gunshot wound on his leg, reports GroundUp.

Thulare was shot four times at his home in Klipgat on 8 February, by people whom he says he does not know. He was admitted to Odi District Hospital in Mabopane and then transferred to George Mukhari in Ga-Rankuwa on 9 February.

Thulare spoke to GroundUp on 22 February from hospital: “I have been told that thereʼs a long list of people that need to be operated on, so I must wait for my turn. The leg is painful, even though they give me painkillers on a daily basis.”

GroundUp contacted the hospital and the Health Department on 23 February to find out what was happening. The next day Thulare was finally operated on.

“After you called … I was taken to the theatre for my operation and I am currently healing at the hospital,” he told us.

Many patients at this hospital endure a long wait for surgery. Two doctors we spoke to expressed dismay at Thulareʼs fate.

“After a gunshot wound, surgery should ideally be within six hours, but definitely within 24 hours, maximum. Most especially if there is a fracture… at least a washout and stabilisation should be performed,” said Dr Mark Human, who is chair of the Gauteng branch of the SA Medical Association (SAMA) and also who chairs SAMAʼs Human Rights, Law and Ethics Committee.

“Our country sorely lacks an efficient or effective patient lobby group,” said Human.

GroundUpʼs questions to the Gauteng Department of Health, and to officials at the George Mukhari mostly went unanswered.

Acting Deputy Director General of Gauteng Health services Dr Freddy Kgongwana said only: “All the questions do not have a generic or basic/simple answer. It will always depend on the review/assessment of the particular patient condition/illness/injury and planned management of the condition/illness/injury of the patient, with the limitations of the resources available.”

The office of MEC of Health Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi said that one of the reasons why it takes so long for patients like Thulare to be operated on is the lack of resources in many hospitals. Kwara Kekana, the spokesperson for the MEC, said a decision to operate on a patient with injuries depended on the nature of the injuries and on the availability of “resources like theatre space and time”.


GroundUp article – Godfrey Thulare was shot in the leg four times. He had to wait two weeks for surgery at a Tshwane hospital (Reproduced under Creative Commons Licence)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Gunshot wounds place hefty burden on SA's orthopaedic healthcare resources


6,000 surgical patients in Gauteng face up to 3-year wait


Patients are bearing the brunt of SA's inadequate health services


Hospitals of fear: Police and guards 'run away' during attacks on patients


Backlog of 7,000 surgery patients at Chris Hani Baragwanath



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