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Mecliable After Hospitals Fail To Diagnose Rare TB

/Mecliable After Hospitals Fail To Diagnose Rare TB

Mecliable After Hospitals Fail To Diagnose Rare TB

Sunday Argus
Sunday, 13 October 2013

Fatima Schroeder

Mecliable After Hospitals Fail To Diagnose Rare TB

Test should have been routine, says Judge

The Western Cape High Court  has  ruled  that Health  MEC Theuns Botha is liable for the damages of a Paarl boy, after finding that two medical  facilities  under his control failed to  properly  diagnose tuberculosis  of the  elbow- a rare condition that left him  partially disabled.

For almost a year, from  March 2001, Cyn- Lee Klaasen,  now 14, was  subject to  a variety of tests and  procedures for  what  doctors  believed to be septic  arthritis, a condition  often confused  with TB.

He had an abscess on his  elbow drained,  a blood  transfusion  for  iron deficiency, courses  of antibiotics, several  hospital stays, anti- inflammatories, X-rays, blood  tests and physiotherapy. But none had improved his condition.

Eventually, in February 2002, his mother Cynthia took him to Tygerberg Hospital where he was   diagnosed with TB of the right elbow. By then, however, it was too late to prevent damage to his elbow and today he cannot straighten his arm.

His  mother  sued the MEC, alleging  that staff  at Paarl  Hospital and  Klein Drakenstein Clinic ought to have diagnosed  TB of the right elbow and, had  they done so, he  would have  received the correct  treatment  and not  been  partially  disabled.

Handing  down judgment in the Western Cape  High Court  last week, Acting Judge  Stephen Koen pointed  out that  doctors  had not requested  TB tests,  even when the  boy  had failed to  not  respond  to  treatment  over a five – month period.

The records  showed that  at no stage  was it suspected something other than septic arthritis  was the cause, “and  at no stage during  2001 were tests  for  tuberculosis  tests requested”.

The judge said that, given the prevalence of TB locally, the possibility of TB should have been considered.

He added that expert evidence suggested it should have been routine to investigate TB of the elbow. Even the manual of orthopaedic surgery, printed before 2001, warned that septic arthritis mimicked TB.

Referring to  the argument  that Cyn- Lee’s mother  should have told  doctors  she had  been  treated for TB in 2001, Judge  Koen  said  it  could hardly  be expected of a person in  her  position to  volunteer  such  information  when the  doctors  were treating her son.

Cyn- Lee’s attorney, Tzvi Brivik, said the matter would now be enrolled for the damages sum to be determined.

2018-11-04T10:54:31+00:00May 21st, 2015|

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