Mpumalanga - An urgent high court application could force Mpumalanga's health department to expedite treatment for a patient with a gangrenous foot, Beeld reported on Friday.

Pretoria lawyer Johan van der Vyver, acting on behalf of patient George Earle, 52, had faxed and e-mailed a letter to Dr Clifford Mkasi, Mpumalanga's MEC for health and welfare.

Earle, a diabetic, has been waiting since December 22 for surgery in the Middelburg provincial hospital, apparently due to a shortage of anaesthetists.

He was admitted after a toe amputation carried out in 2012

became infected, and told Beeld earlier this week that his leg would now have to be amputated below the knee, as the infection had spread, and suppurating rot had set in.

Van der Vyver said on Friday he would arrange for an orthopaedic surgeon to visit Earle. He had stated in his letter to Mkasi that the government should provide urgent and correct medical treatment before the end of the day.

If this did not happen, Van der Vyver would proceed with a court application to force the state to transfer Earle to Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria for an amputation. - Sapa