Nurse’s job leaves her ill and angry

2010-04-12 00:00

A NURSE at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital has been left with allergic rhinitis and other complications after she was not reassigned when she got sick from being exposed to sodium bicarbonate compound, which is used on patients in the hospital’s haemodialysis and oncology wards.

Truelove Dladla (30) was transferred to the haemodialysis ward for patients with renal failure in November 2006.

Two weeks later her nose started bleeding continuously, and she had headaches.

She took medication and continued with her job in the same ward.

In December, tests were done on her and the condition was discovered.

She was admitted to hospital in February and March 2007 and a doctor gave her a recommendation letter that she be removed from the haemodialysis ward.

“Despite the doctor’s letter recommending that I be removed from the ward, my supervisor disregarded that. Instead, she told me to write an incident letter, detailing how I got injured at work,” alleged Dladla.

As her condition deteriorated her supervisor transferred her to the oncology ward, where the same compound is administered to cancer patients.

“In less than a week of working in that ward, I was admitted to St Augustine’s hospital for eight days and a doctor attending to me said I had a bilateral cerebral spinal fluid leak.

“The fluid protecting my brain was coming out from my nose due to a crack in the nasal cavity,” she said.

Her personal doctor Mahendra Mahabeer recommended an operation, after which she had problems with other chemicals used in the wards.

In September 2007 she was transferred to the general matron’s office.

She feels that the move came too late as the damage was already done.

“Now I’m left with poor eyesight and I’ve been physically and emotionally scarred due to negligence on the part of my supervisor.

“I have written to MEC Dr Sbongiseni Dhlomo in November 2009, asking him to intervene in this matter, and deal with all those who failed to follow my doctor’s recommendations. I’m disappointed that the MEC has not responded till now,” said Dladla.

HOSPITAL CEO Dr Fikisiwe Zondi confirmed Dladla’s condition, adding that there are documents detailing what happened to her, and that a report will be compiled and fowarded to the Health Department.

Manager in the office of the MEC, Nontlantla Makhanya, said she found many unprocessed complaints when she started her job in March.

“I advise Dladla to forward her written complaint, and I will deal with it personally,” Makhanya said.

Health spokesman Chris Maxon said the hospital is working with Dladla on her health condition.

“Hospital CEO Dr Fikisiwe Zondi has had a session with her to ascertain the root cause of her problems. That discussion was in confidence, and we cannot divulge its contents,” said Maxon.

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