Doctor gives kwaito star shingles medication assuming he was HIV positive

Trompies member Eugene Mthethwa is not happy with the treatment he got at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital.Picture: Trevor Kunene
Trompies member Eugene Mthethwa is not happy with the treatment he got at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital.Picture: Trevor Kunene

Fuming kwaito veteran Eugene Mthethwa has threatened legal action against Netcare Waterfall City Hospital and a physician who allegedly prescribed the wrong medication on an assumption that he was HIV positive when he was admitted at the private hospital two years ago.

This follows a decision by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) to “close the matter” last month, allegedly without furnishing reasons.

“The matter was served before the second committee of preliminary inquiry on July 11 2019. The committee resolved to accept the explanation of the doctor in terms of regulation 4(7) and close the matter,” reads the correspondence between Mthethwa and the HPCSA, which the artist shared with City Press.

Mthethwa lodged a complaint with the hospital and the HPCSA in April 2017.

The Soweto-born member of kwaito group Trompies, which made its mark in the mid-1990s, has vowed to fight for justice.

“I am going to open a case of medical negligence against the doctor. What he has put me through has affected me mentally, emotionally and physically. I was already traumatised by breaking my femur and wondering if I would ever be able to dance on stage again. This has added to the level of my depression,” he says.

Although this happened two years ago, the artist says he is still traumatised.

“In March 2017, I was hospitalised for three weeks for a broken femur. As I was trapped in bed for days, I began developing a rash on my left thigh owing to the swelling, sweating and sleeping in one position as I could not move. Then a physician came to see me without my surgeon’s referral. Assuming that I was HIV positive, he prescribed medication for shingles, saying that he was told that I was on HIV treatment.

“He then insisted on running blood tests, even after I questioned him on his misconduct, but he still continued,” he says, adding that his treating specialist was also shocked by the physician’s behaviour.

The physician, known to City Press, was not available for comment this week.

His receptionist told City Press that he was out of the country, attending a conference.

“This has made me not trust any Netcare Waterfall City Hospital doctor with my life. I started questioning myself about how many people he did the same thing to. After he put me through so much stress and trauma, he then came back to me saying that he had good news, that my CD4 count was normal. Unfortunately, the damage was already done,” he explains.

Mthethwa alleged this was a situation commonly experienced by celebrities, whose conditions get disclosed without their consent when hospitalised.

“Many keep quiet about their conditions and suffer a slow death and depression,” he said.

The hospital has since distanced itself, saying in correspondence to Mthethwa: “We would like to kindly request that you address your complaint directly to the physician.”

According to communication between Mthethwa and the hospital management two years ago, which City Press has seen, it responded saying: “The doctor is not employed by the hospital as he is a private practitioner.”

The hospital’s general manager, Alan Abrahams, this week said they were not in a position to comment on behalf of medical practitioners providing services at the hospital.

“The statement that the physician presumed he was HIV positive is without basis,” Abrahams said via email.

Abrahams said Mthethwa’s specialist did refer the physician to attend to the musician’s rash.

“We apologised to Mthethwa at the time he informed us that his experience in our hospital did not meet his expectations. We do not believe that the hospital was in any way negligent in the care we provided to Mthethwa,” reads the statement.

On Thursday, City Press sent questions to the HPCSA, which said that it could only respond tomorrow.


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