Transgender manager sues after botched op costs him his leg

The transgender manager of a hardware store is claiming R3 million from the Gauteng department of health after a complication of a gender reassignment. Picture: iStock
The transgender manager of a hardware store is claiming R3 million from the Gauteng department of health after a complication of a gender reassignment. Picture: iStock

The transgender manager of a hardware store is claiming R3 million from the Gauteng department of health after a complication of a gender reassignment operation meant to give him a penis led to the amputation of his left leg.

According to papers filed in the High Court of Pretoria, Shaun Wiggill (47), of Roseville in Pretoria, underwent various gender reassignment surgeries from 2016 in order to transition from a woman to a man.

He first underwent a mastectomy and then a hysterectomy.

Thereafter, four surgeons were scheduled to perform the operation to create a sex organ for him at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

Skin flaps from Wiggill’s left arm and leg were used to construct the penis.

The operation, carried out on July 26, lasted about 11 hours and 25 minutes.

According to the court papers, Wiggill experienced swelling, pain and loss of sensation in both legs and feet after the operation.

He was also unable to move the toes on his left foot.

He has loss of feeling in his right leg and pain in his left calf.

According to the court papers, hospital personnel ignored the problems for hours.

On the afternoon of July 27, two surgeons performed a further operation on his left calf to relieve pressure caused by poor circulation in his leg.

By this time, there was no longer a pulse in his left leg and the skin had begun to discolour.

Four days later, Wiggill underwent another operation on his left leg to release pressure.

But the next day, his left leg was amputated above the knee.

According to Wiggill, he also suffered neurological damage to his right lower leg as a result of the operation.

He has loss of feeling in his right leg and pain in his left calf.

He also developed a pressure sore at the back of his head in hospital, as well as a pressure sore on his nose, caused by the oxygen pipe (inserted during the lengthy operation).

He alleges that these sores developed as a result of inadequate nursing care.

Wiggill believes that he should not have been advised to undergo the operation at that stage because of the potential risks caused by inadequate post-operative care, treatment and management.

He avers that he was not informed of these risks before the surgery and says that had he been aware of them, he would have postponed the operation.

He blames the hospital for the fact that he developed compartment syndrome (increased pressure within one of the body’s anatomical compartments resulting in insufficient blood supply to tissue in that space) in his left leg, and the neurological damage to his right leg due to complications caused by a long operation under anaesthesia.

Wiggill filed his claim against the department on February 4 this year.

He has not responded to requests for comment by City Press’ sister publication, Rapport.


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