Pen­sioner seeks ad­vice on pap smear hor­ror

Sunday Tribune - - HERALD - JA­NINE MOODLEY

BOUTS of ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain have be­come a way of life for 63-year-old Phoenix pen­sioner Deeta Ram­raj af­ter medics at Ma­hatma Gandhi Hos­pi­tal al­legedly used the “wrong tool” when con­duct­ing a pap smear.

Ram­raj claimed that her cervix was dam­aged af­ter a “huge” ap­pa­ra­tus was in­serted into her, in­stead of the “small mas­cara-like brush” in­stru­ment that is nor­mally used to draw tis­sue sam­ples from cer­vi­cal walls.

Her fam­ily doc­tor ex­am­ined Ram­raj af­ter her pap smear in 2015 and con­firmed that she had “torn tis­sue”.

Ram­raj said this week that she was un­able to en­dure any fur­ther suf­fer­ing, and she would be seek­ing le­gal ad­vice and planned to lodge a dam­ages claim.

“All I wanted was the doc­tors to rec­tify their mis­take. I’ve com­plained re­peat­edly to the hos­pi­tal’s man­age­ment.

“I even had meet­ings with se­nior mem­bers of the hos­pi­tal’s man­age­ment since ear­lier in the year, which Mi­nor­ity Front ward coun­cil­lor Jonathan An­nipen helped to fa­cil­i­tate.

“But I’ve re­ceived no as­sis­tance,” claimed Ram­raj. She pre­vi­ously ex­pe­ri­enced a burn­ing sen­sa­tion when she uri­nated and felt it nec­es­sary to have a pap smear. But what she ex­pected to be a rou­tine pro­ce­dure, turned out to be a “liv­ing night­mare” for her.

Ram­raj said she writhed in agony and told the doc­tor that he was hurt­ing her while the pro­ce­dure was be­ing done.

She did not re­ceive the re­sults from the ini­tial test be­cause they told her that they were un­able to re­trieve enough tis­sue sam­ples and was forced to en­dure a sec­ond pap smear.

“It has been three years, and I’m still in pain. Go­ing to the toi­let pet­ri­fies me.”

KZN De­part­ment of Health spokesper­son Ncumisa Ma­funda con­firmed that they were in­formed by the hos­pi­tal’s man­age­ment about Ram­raj’s al­le­ga­tions.

He said his de­part­ment noted with con­cern an at­tempt by the news­pa­per to sim­plify and dis­cuss in the pub­lic space con­fi­den­tial clin­i­cal pa­tient in­for­ma­tion, which is pro­tected by law.

“It is al­ways con­cern­ing when such at­tempts are made, be­cause usu­ally they are made with­out the ben­e­fit of ac­cu­rate and rel­e­vant clin­i­cal in­for­ma­tion. This makes for a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion as gov­ern­ment may not pro­vide such in­for­ma­tion to a third party, in this case the me­dia, in com­pli­ance with the law.”

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