Witbank woman dies after botched breast surgery

By Pieter van Zyl
21 April 2017

“My heart breaks because my mother doesn’t deserve what’s happening to her.”

She passed away Thursday night en-route to the ICU -- and Reinette Henning's loved ones are devastated she didnt get the help she so desperately needed in time.

Her family believes Reinette, who lived in Witbank, died as a result of a failed breast reconstruction surgery.

Her daughter Tasha Erasmus fought long and hard to get her mother the best medical care possible after undergoing a botched double mastectomy last year.

“She either gets help urgently or we’ll have to say goodbye to her," she told YOU on Thursday, hours before her mother passed away.

Reinette (49) was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2014. In the same month it was also diagnosed in her mother, Maryna van der Heyde (67). And just over a week after Reinette’s diagnosis her father, Batie van der Heyde (70), died after a long battle with lung cancer.

Read more: Scarred for life: my mom’s hell in state hospital after breast surgery

After her diagnosis, Reinette underwent a double mastectomy. She didn't have any medical aid and saved up for a breast reconstruction. It was done in November last year, but was unsuccessful. Since 22 November Reinette had been in and out of various hospitals.

Reinette's loved ones fetched her from a state hospital in Johannesburg just before Easter, said Tasha. “She needed to shave her hair because she’d contracted head lice there,” she added.

“The doctors that they spoke to said that she doesn’t want to live anymore. She is very negative and needs to take antidepressants. She refuses to cooperate with them. She keeps pulling the drip out,” said Tasha yesterday.

“They never checked why she is constantly nauseous and why she keeps bringing up her food. She’s been on pain medication for five years. Her stomach lining has probably disintegrated.”

Last Thursday Reinette had slipped into a coma and Tasha called an ambulance. “She was critical. She needed a blood transplant. Her kidneys were busy failing. Her liver had collapsed. She was dehydrated,” said Tasha.

She was already slipping away when they found her a place at the Eye Institute in Witbank. It took them two hours to stabilise her.

Doctors told Reinette's devastated daughter her mother urgently needed to go into an ICU -- which the facility didn't have.

“She is critical. That means that she has to go back to the state hospital or we have to say goodbye to her,” she said yesterday.

But they were too late. Reinette was en-route to the hospital when she died.

“My mother is innocent. She didn’t do anything wrong. Now she’s being tortured. And it just doesn’t stop. My heart breaks because my mother doesn’t deserve what’s happening to her,” Tasha said.

She shared a heartbreaking ode to her mom on Facebook, wherein she thanked her for being a hero and an inspiration.

"Thank you for the example you set of a precious mother. Mommy you're irreplaceable. Please say hello to Grandpa. You've always helped everyone. . .The Lord's will has been done."

"Goodbye mommy."

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