Three sustain burns during tonsil ops

Johannesburg - Three patients have been left with burns after a surgeon performed tonsillectomies on them at the Life Brenthurst Clinic.

Maria Sesing was among the patients injured earlier this month.

File picture. Credit: REUTERS

Sesing had gone to the Life Brenthurst Clinic to have her tonsils removed and found, to her surprise, that she had a wound on her cheek when she came out of the theatre.

Life Brenthurst Clinic manager Roy Schubach confirmed that the treating surgeon performed “16 tonsillectomies” in the theatre and three patients sustained “superficial burns” on the cheek or lips.

“These burns do not cause permanent damage and disappear without intervention,” he said.

Schubach said the hospital immediately undertook a full investigation. He said the investigation found it was caused by “a fine hairline crack in the forceps insulation which cannot be detected by the naked eye”.

He said prior to each procedure, instrumentation is checked by theatre staff, but they could not possibly have detected this fine crack within the insulation.

Schubach said this defect within the insulation was highly unusual, and they immediately replaced the equipment. Another patient, Keagile Phalane, also suffered burns on her cheek.

Her mother Charlotte said she was considering taking legal action against the hospital for negligence.

“How can I send my daughter to a private hospital to remove her tonsils and she ends up with a wound?

“How do I know if my daughter is not going to be scarred for life? I’m so angry,” Phalane said.

An incensed Phalane said she was informed of what had happened to her daughter only after she noticed the wound.

“I asked the doctor why my daughter had a wound on her cheek. The doctor apologised and said there was a problem with the equipment.”

Phalane said the hospital was supposed to make sure the problem was detected before the operation.

“I don’t care whether there was a problem with the equipment. Why didn’t they check before they started using it?

“I don’t like what they did to my daughter. This is negligent and I’m considering taking legal action.”

Sesing echoed her sentiments, saying she was also considering legal action and wanted the hospital to pay for what they did to her.

“I was horrified when I looked in the mirror and I saw a wound on my face.

“I was burnt from inside and outside the cheek. I was very sore. I asked my doctor (about it) and he told he was also angry because he had informed the hospital about the problem,” Sesing said.

“I want them to pay for what they did to me and other patients. They must be taught a lesson…

“What if it happens to someone else and that person dies because the equipment is not up to standard? I’m never gonna go to Brenthurst again,” said Sesing.

She said she paid more than R17 000 for the procedure as well as the three-day hospital stay.

“Why would I pay so much money and still be treated like this? I demand answers. They are not getting away with this,” Sesing said.