Woman to sue hospital

2012-05-21 00:00

A 31-YEAR-OLD chef has vowed to sue the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department for the trauma she suffered following an appendectomy at Northdale Hospital that has left her with an open wound in her stomach.

The hospital said the wound was deliberately left open to enable it to heal after it went septic.

Ritabile Ndlela, from Lidgetton, said she went to hospital to have her appendix removed.

“I was transferred by the doctor in Howick to hospital and on March 20 I was operated on. I have been in and out of the hospital until last Wednesday. But then I was discharged with this wound as open as it is,” she said, indicating her bandaged stomach.

“The doctor told me that he was discharging me. I asked why, because the wound hasn’t healed. He just said it would heal itself.”

Ndlela told The Witness that the pain caused her sleepless nights, and that the hospital did not give her painkillers.

She is recovering at home, hoping she will soon be well enough to return to her job at Lythwood Lodge.

“I could catch slumber only yesterday after a private practitioner dressed the wound and gave me medication … I just want to be healed so I can get back to my work. Then I’ll take action against the department.

“They didn’t even care whether this wound might be infected. When I was in hospital they noticed that there were complications, but they did nothing,” she said.

The hospital confirmed that she was a patient in its surgical ward in March, with acute appendicitis.

The chief executive officer of Northdale Hospital, Felicity du Preez, told The Witness that after the operation Ndlela was put in the high-care unit and transferred to Grey’s Hospital’s intensive care unit for further management.

“Due to the severe infection inside the abdomen the skin was left open. She was then brought back from Grey’s Hospital with the skin of the abdominal wound still open. She was given wound care in the ward and discharged last week, to continue wound care and follow up in our surgical out patient department,” Du Preez said.

The CEO said: “Unfortunately the wound became septic again, which could be caused by a number of medical reasons. All the sutures were removed, so the skin was opened again and doctors decided to continue with wound care. It will allow the wound to granulate or heal by itself.”

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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