Baby’s feet burnt during hospital stay

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Adam Khozas feet wrapped in bandages.

Johannesburg - When baby Adam Khoza started vomiting and contracted a small dose of diarrhoea, his mother took him straight to a clinic.

Little did she know the visit would end with her son almost losing a foot due to negligence.

Hilda Khoza said her one-year-old fell ill on October 22.

“We went to the local clinic and they put him on a drip and called an ambulance to take him to the hospital,” she said.

The little boy was then admitted to the Far East Rand Hospital in Springs, Ekurhuleni.

“They took him in and kept him overnight. I was then told to leave at 10pm because visiting hours were over,” said Khoza.

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Hilda Khoza and Abdul Cassim, the parents of 1-year-old Adam, have opened a case of negligence against Far East Rand Hospital in Springs over burns he sustained through alleged negligence. Photo: Chris Collingridge


The mother stayed in the casualty room until the morning.

“When I went to go see Adam, his feet and ankles were burnt. When I asked the nurse what had happened, I was told the baby had to be kept warm because he had gone cold,” she said.

Khoza said she did not understand how that could happen when her child was only supposed to be in and out of the hospital.

The child was bandaged and kept at the hospital.

On November 12, Khoza was told her child would be transferred to Chris Hani-Baragwanath Academic Hospital for further tests. Once there, the bandages that had been placed on his feet were removed.

“His feet had turned a different, darker shade. It was like they were rotten,” said Khoza.

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Adam Khoza has had to undergo three operations.


Khoza was told her son’s left foot bone was damaged and needed to be removed.

She opened a case of negligence against the Far East Rand Hospital on November 26.

“The person who burnt my child is on leave, now I must wait until next year to get answers,” she said.

Baby Adam has had to undergo three surgeries to try to repair his damaged left foot. His right foot has healed from the burns.

Last Friday, the bone was removed and Adam’s foot placed in a cast. He will stay at the hospital until his foot heals and doctors will decide whether the foot should be amputated.

Khoza travels from Etwatwa in Ekurhuleni to see her child when she is able to gather enough money.

Gauteng Department of Health spokesman Lesemang Matuka said according to the doctors at the hospital, the baby’s legs had gone extremely cold and they could not record a temperature. Matuka said the mother was told about the condition of the child.

“In a concerted effort to warm the child, a plastic bottle containing liquid was warmed in a microwave and wrapped in a linen saver (a linen cloth) and placed on the legs to warm his feet. Upon removal of the linen saver, it was discovered that the child had blisters on both legs,” he said.

Matuka said a decision was then taken to transfer the child to Bara to be treated by a specialist.

“The police interviewed all involved and we are waiting for the outcome of due legal processes. As the department, we are committed in ensuring that all patients are treated with care and empathy in all our health facilities,” said Matuka.

Springs police spokesman Captain Johannes Ramphora said a docket had been opened, but the police were still waiting for a statement from the nursing sister involved.

“We need to understand the conduct she took on the day. She may be traumatised by the whole situation,” he said.

Ramphora said once a statement was provided, the docket would be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide on who exactly would be charged for negligence.

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