Northdale doctor ‘was right’

2014-12-09 00:00

THE chairperson of the SA Medical Association, Mzukisi Grootboom, has come out in defence of a Northdale Hospital doctor who opted to treat a hernia using a R5 coin.

“Umbilical hernia in children is common. It is most likely that the doctor concerned was attempting to construct an improvised truss to contain the hernia.

“As long as there is no evidence of bowel or other abdominal contents being tightly stuck within the hernia, they are almost always managed by simple observation, as most will close spontaneously by five years of age.”

Grootboom said some surgical units perform an operation to close an umbilical hernia that has not spontaneously closed by the age of five years while others wait until the age of six or seven years or later before offering surgery.

The doctor raised eyebrows last week when she bandaged a R5 coin on Nozipho Mbhele’s umbilical hernia.

Grootboom said the doctor performed her duty properly but said a “coin does not heal a hernia”.

“If the coin was being used as an improvised hernia truss, this truss would play a role in preventing the contents of the hernia from becoming stuck in the hernia while the doctor and patient were waiting for the hernia to spontaneously close, or for an operation.” he added.

He said this method is not used in adequately-resourced environments where other more comfortable commercially-available trusses are used.

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