Two years to tonsil op

2010-11-11 00:00

A LOCAL woman must wait until 2012 before her tonsils can be removed at Grey’s Hospital.

Landiwe Mbatha (32) has had a history of tonsillitis since childhood.

On October 14 she could barely talk and was in severe pain when she went to Northdale Hospital for treatment of a swollen throat, only to discover that she can only be attended to in 2012.

Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils, the fleshy clusters of tissue on both sides of the back of the throat and behind the tongue.

It is caused by an infection that leads to a sore throat and painful swallowing.

A Dr S.B Badibane phoned King Edward Hospital in Durban and Grey’s in Pietermaritzburg to book Mbatha in for the operation.

King Edward replied that she can have the operation only in August 2012.

Grey’s said she can have surgery only in February 2012.

Dr Badibane gave Mbatha a referral letter to Grey’s as the best option.

The Witness has a copy of the letter.

When Mbatha asked for an explanation for the long wait, the doctor allegedly told her that Northdale does not perform tonsillectomies, and that is why she was referred to another hospital.

Said Mbatha, a mother of one,“Dr Badibane said there was nothing Northdale can do for me.

“I felt neglected and valueless. I’m forced to endure such excruciating pain until 2012. I don’t have medical aid cover to go to a private hospital and my hope was to get health services from government hospitals.

“This affects my job because I don’t go to work when my tonsils are swollen and painful. God knows how long my employer will keep up with my absence from work.”

The government’s Batho Pele principles stipulate that citizens should be treated with courtesy and consideration and be given full and accurate information about the public services they are entitled to receive.

Failure to provide such services warrants a full explanation and speedy, effective remedy to the citizens and that when complaints are made, citizens should receive a sympathetic and positive response.

But Mbatha believes that no consideration or courtesy was shown to her.

She said she suffers pain every time the medication she is given clears her system, and she had hoped that the hospitals would put an end to her misery.

Dr Phophi Ramathuba of the South African Medical Association said tonsillitis can recur and could lead to difficulty in breathing. The only remedy is to remove the tonsils.

She said tonsils contain infection-fighting cells and antibodies that stop the spread of germs to other parts of the body.

“However, the antibodies react differently from person to person.

“If not treated, tonsils become septic and this can develop into septicaemia, which, if it gets into your blood system, can lead to death.”

The health department’s Umgungundlovu district manager, May Zuma-Mkhonza, was shocked to hear of the lenthy waiting period.

“Why 2012? The most she should be made to wait is until early next year. “But seeing that it’s the first time I hear about this, I invite the patient to visit me at my office so that I can get details of this matter,” said Zuma-Mkhonza.

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