Patient tells of critical blood loss, near death, open infected wound in hospital hell

2017-01-17 14:09
Van der Westhuizen's injured hand. (Photos supplied)

Van der Westhuizen's injured hand. (Photos supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban - A Pinetown resident whose right arm was slashed in an attempted hijacking last month now fears losing the use of his limb after he says indifferent hospital staff left the wound open for hours on end.

Riaan van der Westhuizen, 31, also says that he lay unattended in the casualty ward unit of RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth before his heart stopped.

Only when his wife started CPR did her frantic screams gain the attention of medical staff, who rushed him into theatre.

With a critical loss of blood, Van der Westhuizen said his heart stopped three times while undergoing surgery.

His brush with death was the beginning of his two-week ordeal in the hospital.

He says his wound was left open for hours on end and his complaints ignored.

It eventually became infected.

Van der Westhuizen told News24 that his ordeal began when he was in his bakkie on December 28 and an apparent hijacker attacked him.

“I had been driving with my fiancée to her mother’s house. I stopped at a robot and a guy came through my window with a knife,” he said.

“I pulled off and he cut my arm quite badly. He cut all the arteries."

He managed to drive to a nearby clinic and collapsed on the floor as he got out the bakkie.

An ambulance rushed to his aid and transported him to the state medical facility.

“I lay in casualty bleeding for two hours before I was seen. I basically died and my wife jumped on me and started to resuscitate me. Then a doctor saw this and intervened and rushed me into theatre,” he said.

“They lost me three times in theatre… all my veins collapsed because I lost so much blood.”

Van der Westhuizen spent two days in ICU before being moved into a ward.

He fears this move, and the treatment he claims to have received at the hands of indifferent nurses, could cost him the use of his arm.

“Every second day they opened my wound to clean it but they would leave it open for six hours before they cleaned it and dressed it again. They ignored me when I complained about this. People have so many problems in this ward and I didn’t want my arm open because I was worried I would catch something,” he said. 

“The orthopaedic surgeon came to me and said they needed to do a tendon and nerve repair in an operation and so last week, every day, they would starve me and then in the afternoon they would come and say that the surgery had to be delayed.”

“They took me into theatre on the Friday. The surgeon went through my file and found out that I had an infection, they had not even said anything about it to him. I blame the nurses for leaving my arm open,” Van der Westhuizen said.

“You don’t want to see this place on the inside. Now I am in this shitty place and they came to me wanting to expose my arm. I told them to get everything ready so they can clean it and close it. Because of the way it was handled before I already have an infection."

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health said that they would respond to emailed questions at 14:00. No response had been received at the time of publishing.

UPDATE: KZN health dept rubbishes negligence claims

Read more on:    durban  |  healthcare

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.