Amputee sues health MEC for R4.2m
A Thabazimbi man is claiming R4.2 million in damages from the Limpopo health MEC after his leg had to be amputated following an accident.
The man went to hospital after a tree fell on his leg. He says his leg had to be amputated as the hospital admitted him only for “observation” and refused to treat him.
Christoffel Kotze, 49, said in papers before the Pretoria High Court that the tree fell on him, injuring him, on January 30, 2007. He was taken by ambulance to the Thabazimbi Provincial Hospital.
The emergency room staff dressed the wounds on his head and nose, but did not attend to his eg. The casualty officer supported his leg with a bandage when the injury was pointed out and gave instructions that Kotze be admitted for “observation”, it is claimed.
Kotze said he was not given any pain medication and no attention was given to his leg.
He developed severe pain and made urgent requests for medical treatment, but his pleas were ignored and he had no option but to discharge himself, he said.
He phoned and described his symptoms to his house doctor, who diagnosed the problem as compartmental syndrome.
The doctor urged Kotze to go immediately to the then-Pretoria Academic Hospital.
The hospital confirmed the presence of the syndrome.
The blood vessels and nerves were so severely compressed that gangrene set in. There was apparently no option but for his leg to be amputated.
Kotze said if he had received urgent treatment at the Thabazimbi Hospital, chances were that his leg could have been saved.
He was blaming his ill fortune on hospital staff who failed to examine and treat him, he said.
The nursing staff had relied on the diagnosis given by telephone by a doctor and refused to respond to his pleas for help when he was in excruciating pain, he said.
When he told them there was something seriously wrong with his leg, he was ignored, he said.
“They simply left me for observation,” Kotze said in court papers.
His leg was amputated in Pretoria, a day after he had been admitted to the Thabazimbi Hospital. Kotze said the wound was “plagued with sepsis” and he had needed several follow-up operations.
He had lost his job because of the loss of his leg and was unemployed.
The MEC denied liability and said Kotze had not been admitted to the Thabazimbi Hospital. He had refused to be, although doctors had advised him that he needed to be admitted.
The court gave Kotze the go-ahead to proceed with his damages claim, instituted after the time limit. A date has to be set for the hearing. – Pretoria News