'Not what the doctor ordered'
lol, saturate, importance and fumer
31/07/2007 19:04 - (SA)
Cape Town - Failure to "saturate" a patient, causing another to suffer "importance" by not referring him to a urologist, and a fractured "fumer", are among the reasons given by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang for public hospitals being sued for over R26m last year.
In a written reply to a parliamentary question, tabled on Tuesday, she said hospitals around the country had paid out R10.9m of this total, claimed by patients for negligence or malpractice after incorrect treatment.
Contained within her list of 34 such incidents - including cases where patients suffered injury and pain, and sometimes died - is some equally tragic spelling.
In one case, which resulted in a settlement of R80 000, an "unmonitored psychiatric patient jumped out of hospital window and sustained fractured fumer [sic] and dislocated elbow".
'Excellent medical care'
Another reads: "Failure to refer patient to an urologist, resulting in him suffering from importance [sic] and penis being amputated." The man was awarded R465 000.
Yet another public hospital client was "attached [sic] by a psychiatric patient", resulting in a R667 000 settlement.
In one case, which led to a patient bleeding to death, there was a failure by staff "to saturate [sic] patient after delivery of baby".
And in another, a tourniquet was "forgotten in [sic] patient's arm".
Tshabalala-Msimang said in her reply that negligence cases were a "rare exception to the usually excellent medical care" given at public hospitals.
"In addition, the bare facts and figures cannot be ascribed to a single act or omission, but are the end result of a series of events, none of which are intentional.
"In the rapid and high stress field of medical care things unfortunately can and do go wrong, and such cases as well as a constant check on clinical governance, help sharpen or improve on protocols and procedures aimed at preventing similar occurrences in future," she said.
The biggest settlement shown on her list was an amount of over R1.4m, paid to a woman who "burnt both legs by a heater after caesarian [sic] section".
According to Tshabalala-Msimang's reply, the cases occurred during "the most recent financial year".