Doctors let my insides rot

By Drum Digital
28 July 2010

HE once had everything going for her – her first baby was on the way and she was planning her wedding.

She had a good job with decent prospects and the future looked bright. But today Zama Ngcongco is a broken woman, her life ruined after a routine medical procedure turned into a horror story that has dragged on for months.

Zama is suing the department of health for negligence after she suffered lifealtering injuries allegedly at the hands of doctors at Durban’s King Edward VIII Hospital last year.

The 30-year-old had gone in to give birth to her first baby – but says she left with a cotton swab in her womb and a hole in her bowel that has made her life hell.

These injuries have left Zama practically an invalid, unable to raise her child. She can’t eat solid food and often has to go to hospital because of infections. To make matters worse, she’s worried that she might not be able to have another child.

It’s no wonder the woman we meet at her parents’ home in KwaNdengezi near Marianhill in Durban looks so thin, sad and sickly. “I had big plans for my life and was so looking forward to my wedding,” the former food telesales clerk at Makro tells DRUM. “I’d been with my boyfriend, David Mzimela, for four years and was overjoyed at the thought of having our baby and sharing a future. But now...”

She then pulls up her shirt to show us her abdomen. It’s a deformed tangle of scars and stitches with some wounds still covered with dressings. “The lawsuit can never bring back my old life, but at least it could help restore some of my dignity and hold the hospital accountable.”

Read the full article in the Drum of 5 August 2010

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