The Post / 17 December 2015, 11:49am / Logan Govender
In a move that has stunned a cancer patient, Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban has now blamed his doctor for misplacing his kidney, which was removed for crucial biopsy and histology tests.
The kidney disappeared after a recent five-hour operation on Prakasim Derrick Rodgers, 57. The organ was to have been sent to Lancet Laboratory but never made it there.
When POST broke the story last month, Netcare’s general manager, Dr Augusta Dorning, said they were “immensely distressed” by the incident and deeply concerned that the hospital’s strict and clear policies and protocols regarding histology and biopsy procedures were not adhered to.
Dorning said the hospital would take action against the staff involved.
But, this week the hospital’s lawyers painted a different picture.
In an e-mail to Rodgers’ attorney, Mervin Dorasamy, lawyer Deniro Pillay, a director at Norton Rose Fulbright, laid the blame for the loss of the kidney at the door of the urologist who led the operation.
“Netcare’s investigation has revealed that the surgeon who removed Mr Rodgers’s right kidney did not instruct Netcare’s nursing staff to submit the kidney to a laboratory for testing,” he wrote.
“In the absence of explicit instructions from the surgeon to submit the kidney to a laboratory for testing, the kidney was disposed of by the nursing staff (as it would have been after a laboratory had completed any tests).
“In the circumstances, Netcare denies that it is liable for any damages suffered by your client. Should you intend instituting an action against Netcare, the action will be defended by Netcare,” Pillay wrote.
Contacted on Tuesday the doctor expressed surprise by the hospital’s stance and denied that he was negligent.
“This is the first time I have heard that Netcare is blaming me for the loss of Mr Rodgers’s kidney,” he said.
“I gave explicit instructions that the kidney had to be sent to Lancet Laboratory. I filled in the form and signed it. This is a very serious allegation against me. I am going to challenge it. I will contact my attorney immediately. I am going to see the management at Netcare to ascertain what is going on.”
Rodgers reiterated yesterday that vital time was lost when his kidney disappeared.
“My cancer has subsequently spread to stage four. Things may have been different if there was no negligence during my operation. If the biopsy and histology tests were done there and then, my treatment would have started some 10 weeks ago.”
He said he had instructed his attorney to file a claim for damages in the Durban High Court. “Someone has to take responsibility for the condition I am in now.”
Dorasamy said he was awaiting copies of Rodgers’s medical file from the doctor and the hospital.
“I will be filing a lawsuit in the new year. Copies of the medical records will assist me to do that.”
When POST contacted the hospital for comment, general manager Dr Augusta Downing said the matter had been referred to the hospital’s PR company in Johannesburg.