2 holes, 1 scar, no answers for patient

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Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein.

A woman said she is heartbroken and angry and has lost all confidence in the Universitas Academic Hospital (UAH) in Bloemfontein after a series of operations that have left her with a gaping scar from her breast to her belly button, a scar on her outer thigh as well as what seems to be septic holes in her breasts.
Self-employed mother of two, Lorato Tshazibane, said, “I had a heart attack on 19 January and an angiogram was done. I was again admitted on 19 February for a bypass, and while the operation was a success, the wound became septic. The wound was opened and I was put on vacuum assisted closure (VAC) to clean the wound.”
She said cardio surgeons then transferred her to the plastic surgery ward so that she would receive flap surgery, which, according to the internet, is a technique in plastic and reconstructive surgery where any type of tissue is lifted from a donor site and moved to a recipient site with an intact blood supply.
She was admitted for this surgery in May and said the doctors opened her stomach to get fat from it to fill the angiogram wound. A few days after the operation, Tshazibane said, the wound began excreting an unknown fluid, which was drained by a practitioner. She said the practitioner worked on draining the fluid for over two weeks, but with no success as the fluid kept oozing from the wound. She said another VAC procedure was performed on her stomach wound as doctors attempted to stop the fluid from oozing out.
The helpless patient said her stomach wound has been opened twice while doctors were battling to find a solution to her ailing body. She was taken for surgery almost every week until one day she returned from surgery to find two holes in her left breast.
“I do not know where these holes came from, neither did anyone explain to me how I got them,” she said. Tshazibane said as she plunged into depression and with her medical funds near exhaustion, she requested the hospital to discharge her.
Another practitioner attended to her at a local clinic every week. “I came to the clinic on 21 June and he was satisfied with the wound and said I could come back after two weeks. I came back on 5 July and was admitted then for a skin graft. The skin graft was done and the other portion of the breast was stitched but there was a hole that was plus-minus 10 cm deep, in the breast,” Tshazibane said.
She added that after three days, the wound on her thigh (for her skin graft) was not covered. As a result, she is left with a scar on her outer thigh. Her chest has been botched and has a gruesome scar and finally, her breasts have holes in them, while she said the sight of the scar between her breasts and stomach is unbearable to her.
Tshazibane said before these operations she was self-sufficient, bubbly and full of life. Today, she owes her youngest son’s college fees in excess of over R40 000 and stays with her eldest son and his family in Kimberley and often has to travel between Kimberly and Bloemfontein for these treatments.
She was once again discharged on Monday at Universtas Hospital and now intends to lay a complaint of negligence against the provincial health department.
Departmental spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, could not comment on the matter as he needed to gather information from the relevant parties. – Pulane Choane
pulane@centralmediagroup.co.za