Come back in 2020 for surgery

CityPress - - News - VUYO MKIZE [email protected]­press.co.za

A 61-year-old Sa­sol­burg man has been left an­gered and fear­ing for his life af­ter be­ing told he has to wait until 2020 be­fore he can have surgery at a hos­pi­tal in Kroon­stad to treat his de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tion.

Joseph Mo­rake had al­ready waited seven months for Novem­ber 30, the ini­tial date of surgery given to him in April this year at Boi­tumelo Re­gional Hos­pi­tal to al­le­vi­ate the se­vere swelling in his scro­tum – a con­di­tion known as bi­lat­eral hy­dro­cele.

“To my un­der­stand­ing, if left un­treated, this swelling could lead to a her­nia or even prostate can­cer.

“I al­ready had anx­i­ety through­out the seven months wait­ing for the surgery meant for last month … At my age, it re­ally isn’t easy. And the swelling was get­ting enor­mous, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for me to sit or even use the toi­let,” Mo­rake told City Press this week.

But to his sur­prise and hor­ror, Mo­rake said on the long-awaited date of surgery he and a group of about 14 other pa­tients were “rudely dis­missed” by a team of health prac­ti­tion­ers at the hos­pi­tal, who told them that their surg­eries would not be con­ducted that day.

Mo­rake and oth­ers were given a new date of Fe­bru­ary 13 2020, and even then they were al­legedly told surgery wasn’t guar­an­teed.

City Press has seen Mo­rake’s hos­pi­tal card, in which the 2020 date is stated.

“Three doc­tors came to us as we waited in the hos­pi­tal pas­sage – nei­ther our blood pres­sures nor any of the reg­u­lar tests we are used to were done. This very young lady doctor ar­ro­gantly told us we could go home. Af­ter one pa­tient who had had a nasty op­er­a­tion done on her stom­ach com­plained of be­ing turned back yet again, this doctor told us we could get upset all we want but the fact was we were go­ing home,” he con­tin­ued.

Free State Health spokesper­son Mondli Mvambi con­firmed that pa­tients were given the 2020 dates be­cause of the “over­whelm­ing num­ber of pa­tients to be oper­ated on” and the lim­ited re­sources avail­able.

“Boi­tumelo Hos­pi­tal is one of the over­bur­dened pub­lic health fa­cil­i­ties in the prov­ince. It is lo­cated on the N1 and has to be re­spon­sive to var­i­ous types of emer­gen­cies. This hos­pi­tal sees an av­er­age of five to six com­plex emer­gency surg­eries ev­ery day of the week,” Mvambi ex­plained.

“We are sym­pa­thetic to the pa­tients that have to wait long be­fore they can be oper­ated on, while oth­ers have to be taken off the ros­ter for surg­eries. ± 520 000 Boi­tumelo is the only hos­pi­tal in the Fezile Dabi dis­trict, with a pop­u­la­tion of about 520 000, which has the ca­pac­ity to do such op­er­a­tions, re­sult­ing in the ‘ab­nor­mally high num­bers’ of pa­tients await­ing elec­tive surgery

“We know that it can be frus­trat­ing, but the pub­lic needs to know that we have their best in­ter­est at heart. Pa­tients were given dates for elec­tive surgery in 2020 be­cause of the very long wait­ing lists for elec­tive surgery.”

Mvambi said Boi­tumelo was the only hos­pi­tal in the Fezile Dabi dis­trict, with a pop­u­la­tion of about 520 000, which had the ca­pac­ity to do such op­er­a­tions, re­sult­ing in the “ab­nor­mally high num­bers” of pa­tients await­ing elec­tive surgery.

Mvambi said dis­ci­plinary ac­tion would be taken against the doctor Mo­rake al­leged was rude and dis­mis­sive, ad­ding that Mo­rake would also need to lodge a for­mal com­plaint with the hos­pi­tal so they could fol­low proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion pro­ce­dures. He also said they were work­ing on re­cruit­ing more spe­cial­ists in the dis­trict.

Mo­rake said him­self and the other pa­tients asked to be re­ferred to an­other hos­pi­tal, but were re­fused.

“It’s ob­vi­ous to me that we were sent home to die. There was a lady there with breast can­cer and who needed her breast to be removed. She too was given a 2020 date.

“There are so many peo­ple dy­ing be­cause of sit­u­a­tions like this. [Doc­tors] just look at us like we’re old peo­ple who are il­lit­er­ate … I’m not even sure if I’ll be alive in 2020.”

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