No proof of heat stroke, inquiry hears

2013-08-06 21:51
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - People treated at Edendale Hospital after taking part in a job recruitment fitness test did not suffer from heat stroke, an inquiry in Pietermaritzburg heard on Tuesday.

Ravenda Padayachee SC, for the department of transport, said experts would testify that the diagnosis of heat stroke and heat exhaustion was speculative.

He said his medical experts had diagnosed the people treated at the hospital as having iron deficiency, mild dehydration, mild anaemia and hypotension.

He was questioning Dr Douglas Wilson, the head of internal medicine at Edendale Hospital, on his diagnoses of the people treated at the hospital.

Wilson was testifying before a commission probing the deaths of eight people who took part in a 4km run at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg in December.

This formed part of a fitness test for Road Traffic Inspectorate job applicants.

More than 34 000 people qualified to apply for 90 advertised RTI trainee posts. Of these, 15 600 applicants attended a fitness test on 27 December and a similar number on 28 December.

Last week, Wilson testified that eight people who participated in the fitness test had heat exhaustion and five had heat stroke.

"I came in with my own way of approaching heat stroke. If a person's mind was not working clearly, I chose to diagnose that person with heat stroke... I am not an expert in this field," he said.

On Monday, the commission heard that Wilson was a specialist in tuberculosis and HIV/Aids.

Wilson defined heat exhaustion as when a person collapsed after exercising in the heat.

He said he had made the diagnosis of heat stroke and heat exhaustion after doing his own research.

Padayachee said his experts defined heat stroke as when the body temperature was above 40°C and the body did not spontaneously cool.

Heat exhaustion was when the body temperature was raised above the normal body temperature, he said.

The normal body temperature was between 36.5° and 37.2°C.

Padayachee said his experts would testify that heat exhaustion was the inability to continue exercising. It occurred during heavy exercising in all temperatures, and was associated with a raised body temperature.

The people who were treated at the hospital had a body temperature of below 40°C with the highest having been 38°C.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  health

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