Sunday, April 14, 2013

BOTSWANA: Hospital won't help after botch

The Voice (Botswana)
April 12, 2013

Circumcision Horror - Who Cares?


Like many mothers Lungisani Thini decided to have her 11-year-old son circumcised because she wanted him to have a healthier future.

Now she fears he may not have much of a future at all.

The distraught mum, 47, described how the boy’s penis was sliced open during the procedure that went terribly wrong at Tutume Primary hospital. She has now threatened to sue the government P5 million for negligence.

The botched procedure occurred in December last year, but Lungisani claims the hospital neither gave her an apology nor reacted urgently to repair the damage.

“I know mistakes do occur, but the way the hospital is handling my son’s case makes me feel they don’t care.

All I need now is compensation so that I can find medication and doctors to correct the blunder before it’s too late,” she said.

The mother of six revealed that the problem became evident shortly after the procedure when the boy experienced pain and difficulty when trying to urinate.

Although he was then referred to Nyangabgwe hospital, it soon became apparent that measures taken to repair the damage had been unsuccessful.

“When after a week they removed the pipe they had inserted in his penis they assured us that all would be well.

But before long the boy started complaining again.”

Lungisani went on to say that after returning to Nyangabgwe doctors said there was nothing they could do as her son urgently needed to see a specialist.

She told how he was then transferred to Maun, but claims all they are doing there is draining the urine twice every month from the pipe in his penis.

“As I speak, the boy’s education is being seriously affected because of the repeated journeys to hospital,” she added.

What upsets her most is the fact that apart from providing transport to Maun, the hospital does not assist the family financially for the numerous trips.

She also complained that the hospital has never counselled either her or her son.

“As a single mum it is very difficult for me to cope and since the people who are responsible don’t seem to care, I have decided to take legal action. Although I am poor, I will fight until I get justice,” Lungisani promised.

Taking up the case area councillor Moseki Mathodi said that he tried to follow up the matter, but was told it was none of his business.

“I went to the clinic where the operation was carried out, but the nurse in charge refused to talk to me regarding the case claiming confidentiality.

They even failed to liaise with the school regarding the boy’s problem until I personally went to alert the headmaster,” he said.

Tutume District Health Management Team (DHMT) Coordinator Dr Ntumba Kamayi, although acknowledging there was a problem, dismissed allegations that the hospital was not treating the matter with urgency.

“What happened is very sad, but mistakes do happen,” he said. [Medical mistakes are not supposed to happen; accidents should be dealt with.]

Kamayi went on to assure the public that such cases were rare, saying that at least 40 people a day were being circumcised at the Thini clinic. [Yes, and how many are botched?]

“Why the boy’s case went wrong is still a shock to me,” the doctor said.

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