Doctor changes tune at commission

2013-07-30 23:11
Harry Gwala Stadium (Picture: The Witness)

Harry Gwala Stadium (Picture: The Witness)

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

Pietermaritzburg - A doctor, who testified that three people died of heat stroke after taking part in a KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) fitness test, changed her evidence on Tuesday.

Dr Carolyn Lee said she was not certain of her conclusion, after the transport department presented the blood and pathology results of the three participants.

She was testifying in Pietermaritzburg in an inquiry into the deaths of eight people, who took part in a 4km run at the city's Harry Gwala Stadium in December. It formed part of a fitness test for RTI job applicants.

More than 34 000 people qualified to apply.

A total of 15 600 applicants attended a fitness test on 27 December and a similar number on 28 December.

Lee was the head of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Grey's Hospital.

She assessed two of the participants who died, Lungile Wambi and Ntuthuko Sibisi.

Lee did not assess a third victim, Bongiwe Mbatha, but made her findings based on medical notes she received from Edendale Hospital.

Lee said Sibisi might have suffered severe dehydration and had the precondition of diarrhoea. Wambi had multiple cardiac arrests and low blood pressure, which explained the dehydration he had, she said.

In Wambi's case heat stroke was lower down on the list of possibilities. Mbatha had features of heat stroke, but may have had an underlying, pre-existing condition.

Weather conditions

Advocate Ravenda Padayachee for the department, said an expert would testify that if weather conditions were not conducive for fit people to participate in a 3.8km run, a 20% fatality rate of people with no pre-existing condition was expected.

He said genetics played a large part in someone surviving a 3.8km run in hot weather.

Lee said it was possible some of the participants could have had pre-existing conditions.

Padayachee said he would call a witness who would testify that Sibisi died of fluid overload.

Lee said the fluid replacement given to Sibisi was not unusual in dealing with someone who was dehydrated.

She said a healthy person would not die from 8l of fluid as they would excrete it as urine.

Padayachee said Grey's Hospital had failed to cool Sibisi down, even though it was suspected she had heat stroke.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

Join the conversation! 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 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

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


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 network.


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.