Sunday World

Piet Retief Hospital accused of negligence

Woman has waited for a year for test

- By Masoka Dube

Zama Nkosi, a 43-year-old woman from Amsterdam in the Mpumalanga Highveld who is suffering from cervical cancer, is living a miserable life after Piet Retief Hospital failed to assist her for more than a year.

Nkosi is one of the women who tested positive for cervical cancer at Amsterdam clinic last year and was referred to Piet Retief Hospital for further tests, which will determine the type of treatment that she must receive.

The hospital is the only facility that offers such service in the Mkhondo municipali­ty, servicing more than 170 000 people. The municipali­ty comprises areas such as Amsterdam, Dirkkiesdo­rp, Driefontei­n, Thandukukh­anya, Kwangema, Kwathandek Piet Retief and Shabalala.

Nkosi said: “After I tested positive for cancer, I should have started my treatment last year in April but the hospital officials turned me away several times claiming that the machine that is used to conduct cervical cancer tests was not functionin­g well.

“Now it’s been one year and two months and I’m still trying to get help at this hospital. Each time I come here, I’m told the machine is not functionin­g.

“Even today [July 5] they told me to come back again on Monday [July 12 ] because the doctor that was supposed to assist me is not at work.

“I am in pain, so I ended up consulting another doctor at the hospital just to stop the pain. Remember, I was referred by the clinic to get a cancer treatment, so I have to pay money to open a new file just to be assisted to stop the pain.”

Nkosi, a single mother of three who works as a cook at the local school, said since last year it had been hard to wake up and go to work.

“Two of my kids are still very young, so I am obliged to go to work, whether I like it or not because I don’t have another income.

Another thing that aggravates my pain is the fact that I pay R50 from Amsterdam to Piet Retief and I don’t have enough money for these useless trips,” she said.

Lucy Shongwe from Amsterdam said in 2019 a close family friend who had cervical cancer died after the same hospital failed to assist her, claiming that there was no functionin­g machine.

She said: “Something must be done. The question is how many people died because of this machine problem? We can’t have one hospital servicing the entire municipali­ty.”

Mpumalanga department of health spokespers­on Dumisani Malamule said: “We are investigat­ing this matter to check what happened so that corrective measures are applied. I can confirm that we are in contact with the patient and an appointmen­t has been made for Monday, July 12.”

Malamule also confirmed that Piet Retief Hospital was the only facility that offered advance cancer tests in the Mkhondo municipali­ty, while all the 11 clinics in the municipali­ty only conducted pap smears and once the results were out, patients would be referred to the hospital for further management.

He admitted that in 2018, the machine was broken and that it was fixed. “Cancer of the cervix is confirmed by a cervical biopsy and the machine to do the biopsy is functional. Currently, there are no backlogs. All senior managers in the hospitals try at all times to resolve such complaints speedily.”

 ??  ?? Zama Nkosi
Zama Nkosi

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