Woman sues after losing toes, finger tips
Mpumalanga resident went to doctor for tick bite fever, was given ‘wrong medicine’ and contracted gangrene
A DELMAS, Mpumalanga, woman claimed R4 million in damages from a “doctor” who treated her for tick bite fever.
According to her, the doctor prescribed the wrong medicine which resulted in her losing seven of her finger tips and all her toes due to gangrene.
Ingrid Peens, 55, told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, that if it was not for the conduct of a certain Dr Kazadi who treated her in September 2011 at a clinic at the Delmas Plaza, she would have still had her fingertips and toes.
But the whereabouts and the real identity of this doctor could never be established. Peens said she was too ill when she went to the clinic to ask for the name of the doctor who had treated her.
She went back to the clinic months later after she had amputations done to enquire who the doctor was who had treated her. The receptionist said it was Dr Kazadi, who had left as he only stood in for the doctor who usually worked at the clinic. She gave Peens a cellphone number she still had for him. Peens tried to locate the doctor via the help of private investigators. They failed as he had “mysteriously” disappeared.
A search of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) showed that a certain Dr Kazadi, from Angola, tried to register here as a doctor, but he failed as he did not meet the necessary qualifications.
In a bid to further her damages claim, Peens demanded compensation from Dr S Mosheledi, who worked at the clinic which she visited, but was not there at the time. She said
Dr Kazadi stood in as a locum for Dr Mosheledi, so the latter should take responsibility.
Peens earlier testified that she was bitten by a tick at the base of her neck. She subsequently developed tick bite fever and she knew the symptoms, as she was bitten before. As she did not feel well, she went to the surgery in Delmas because she knew the doctor working there. He, however, had died and because she was very ill, she agreed to consult the doctor on duty. She said she found an African male in the consulting room and she assumed he was a doctor. She told him she had tick bite fever and needed medication. According to her, he had no idea what a tick was. She explained to him what it was and he then gave her medication.
Five days later she went outside and collapsed. Her daughter, who assisted her, was concerned about the colour of her fingers which had turned blue.
Peens was rushed to the Pholosong Hospital, and later transferred to the Helen Joseph Hospital. She said she was mostly unconscious but when she woke up, she was told she had gangrene and that all her toes and seven of her fingertips had to be amputated.
After this was done, she got well and started her quest to institute a damages claim. She did not call medical experts to prove her case, but mostly called private investigators. They told the court that they could not locate a Dr Kazadi, who “seemed to have disappeared”.
She then explained that she decided to sue Dr Mosheledi instead.
His legal team, however, told the court that he should not be called to the witness stand to explain himself, as he had nothing to do with Peens’ treatment. Peens’ main complaint was that the doctor who had treated her, prescribed three types of other medication, while she researched on the internet and saw that she should have been prescribed Doxycycline. She said she took this medication in the past for tick bite fewer and she felt better after a few days.
Judge Elizabeth Kubushi said Peens wasn’t a medical doctor who could know that she was prescribed the wrong medicine. There is also no evidence, other than Peens’ word, that the medication she was prescribed resulted in her losing her toes and fingertips.
To make matters worse for her case, she also does not know what medication she was prescribed while unconscious later in hospital. To add to all this, it could never be established who had actually treated her for the tick bite fever, as there was no Dr Kazadi.
The judge said her claim couldn’t succeed as Dr Mosheledi may not be held responsible.