10 March 2011
Kidney patient plans to sue Groote Schuur
A kidney transplant patient plans to sue Groote Shcuur Hospital for negligence after her kidney failed when a critical medicine was allegedly withdrawn from her prescription.
Cynthia Nkenkqa, 45, received her third kidney transplant 10 years ago. She was doing well until August, when her body rejected the kidney. Nkenkqa blamed the rejection on familiar to give her one course of anti-rejection medicine. She notified the hospital pharmacists, but was told there was nothing wrong with her prescription. Three months later, she went for a check-up and test revealed that her kidney had been rejected.
Nkenkqa had to receive costly life-savings dialysis but was rejected from the hospital programme because she no longer qualified for a further transplant. Attorney Tzvi Brivik, for Nkenkqa, is busy filling a negligence claim against Groote Schuur Hospital. He was waiting for all her records, which he had formally requested from the hospital.
“Once I have all her records I will file a case and issue a summons which I hope to do in the next month,” Tzvi Brivik said. Fearful that she can die, Nkenkqa, who lived in Mitchells Plain and worked as a domestic worker, moved back to her family in Eastern Cape after being rejected for dialysis treatment. Nkenkqa was given life saving treatment through a private donation after she met Rose Richard, a kidney transplant patient at a dialysis patient’s support group. Richard said Nkenkqa had effectively been sent home to die”.
Richard and Raseda Samaai, a private nurse and a volunteer at the Cape Kidney Association, paid for an abdominal catheter and peritoneal dialysis for Nkenkqa. Samaai arranged a few months supply of dialysis for Nkenkqa, but this was due to run out soon. Nkenkqa is responding well to the treatment. Samaai said the resource problem was critical in state hospitals, and many patients were “abandoned”.
“There is no safety net for people who are rejected and cannot receive transplants. As the Cape Kidney Association, we are trying to set up a committee to find the financial means to help these patients, one of the Groote Shcuur doctors is also very keen on us doing this and to lobby government to take better care of these patients.” Nkenkqa told the Cape Times, “ I am doing fine, but I just don’t even want to think about what happened to me because all these years my kidney was working fine and it would still be fine if they gave me my medicines.” Groote Skcuur spokesman Alaric Jacobs said: “There are criteria for dialysis and transplant and unfortunately Cynthia did not meet the criteria. Unfortunately, we cannot comment on the script issue because of it being legal issue.”
He said they treated some 128 patients for dialysis a year. “currently, in the Western Cape, between 80 to 90 people are waiting for transplants. About 50 transplants can be done a year, but it is limited by the number of organ donors,” Jacob said. Dialysis for one patient for a year costs around R200 000.