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Baby with broken arm was 'not a medical emergency'

Western Cape
Cape Town – Emergency Medical Services has apologised to a Nyanga mother for the long wait she had before being taken to Red Cross Children’s Hospital with her 10-month-old baby, who had broken his arm.

Little Likuye Mgumane fell off the bed on Friday night and after he had trouble crawling, his parents, Mluleki Andries and Nonyaniso Mgumane rushed him to KTC Day Hospital on Saturday morning.

But the service they received there was unsatisfactory, Andries said.

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Likuye Mgumane with his mother, Nonyaniso Mgumane, 42. Likuya fell and fractured his arm. When the parents took him to a hospital in Nyanga, they were told nothing is wrong with him. Picture: Henk Kruger

“We rushed the child to the hospital, where a doctor just gave him a pen to see if the child’s arm was working. The child grabbed the pen and the doctor said he was fine, so he should come back after two days."

“We couldn’t wait any longer because the child was in pain, he could not even crawl properly."

“We then took him back to the hospital on Monday at around 6am, but the child was only attended to at 2pm.”

The parents are upset that the child was not X-rayed on Saturday even though they explained that Likuye’s arm might be broken.

Western Cape Health spokesperson Monique Johnstone said an X-ray was not deemed necessary by the doctor.

“According to the doctor’s clinical judgement, an X-ray was not necessary. There was no swelling, no tenderness on palpation and the child was using his arm normally,” Johnstone said.

When the parents returned on Monday, the child’s mother said: “I had to wait for eight hours for nurses to find the folder. It was finally found around 2pm.

“When I asked the doctor why the child was not taken to be X-rayed on the same day we came, she said they do not run X-rays on weekends.”

Another Western Cape Health spokesperson, Mark van der Heever, said the complaints would be investigated.

He also explained why the ambulance to transfer Likuye to the hospital took so long.

“The patient was classified as a priority 2, which is not a medical emergency.”

Johnstone said the waiting period to see a doctor on Monday morning was normal.

Likuye is recovering at home with his arm in a cast.

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Cape Argus

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