Woman sues af­ter los­ing toes, fin­ger tips

Mpumalanga res­i­dent went to doc­tor for tick bite fever, was given ‘wrong medicine’ and con­tracted gan­grene

Pretoria News - - METRO - ZELDA VEN­TER zelda.ven­[email protected] TRIAL

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.

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