Mother: My love saved son

2013-07-08 00:00

A MOTHER’S love and dogged determination may have saved her son’s life, the RTI recruitment commission of inquiry heard on Friday.

Qualified nurse Thandeka Dlamini laid bare harrowing details of alleged medical neglect and malpractice. She challenged doctors and nurses at both Northdale and Grey’s hospitals over her son Thamsanqa’s care.

At one time she even phoned KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, urging him to look into her son’s case.

Her son Thamsanqa (25) was one of the would-be KZN traffic officer ­recruits who collapsed after a four- kilometre fitness test at Harry Gwala stadium in Pietermaritzburg in ­December last year.

He was rushed to Northdale Hospital and later transferred to Grey’s at his mother’s insistence. He was only discharged from hospital towards the end of February.

Dlamini, from Newcastle, said her son had still not recovered fully; he suffered from short-term memory loss and had other difficulties.

When she arrived at Northdale, she had to spend more than half an hour frantically searching for her son. He was eventually located in a ward.

Thamsanqa appeared disorientated, and had a catheter, a urine bag and a drip attached to him. But, the drip was on the floor. She had to tell a nurse to fix it.

She was informed by the doctor that her son had kidney problems, and there was renal shutdown.

She phoned the matron of the hospital, expressed unhappiness at Thamsanqa’s treatment and asked why he was not being moved to a hospital that had a renal unit. He was later transferred to Grey’s.

In her evidence Dlamini described how her son developed bedsores.

She once found him lying in a “pool of defecation”, and said the bandages on his bedsores were wet and ­contaminated.

At another time she had to scold a doctor who had arrived to take blood and left the needle on a blanket as he searched for the vein. She made sure he got a clean needle.

Dlamini said when she found that her son had been removed from high care and left in a general ward, she believed he was being left there to die. She fought with the doctors to get him readmitted to high care.

She ­recalled growing panic-stricken and phoning the Health MEC. “He did indeed come to the hospital to see what was happening. He came back to me and said the doctors were doing exactly what was required.”

Advocate Ravin Ramdass, legal representative for the Department of Transport, asked Dlamini if her son would have survived had he remained at Northdale. Dlamini said she felt he would not have made it.

“That is why I still complain about the five days he stayed at Northdale,” she said.

She said her son was alive by the grace of God and that she was grateful to Grey’s for a job well done.

The commission adjourned for ­advocate Thulani Khuzwayo, representing the Department of Health, to consult medical staff at Northdale. Khuzwayo said serious allegations had been made and he needed to consult the parties involved.

Evidence leader at the commission, S’thembiso Nene, said the CEO of Northdale and doctors were expected to give evidence this week.

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