For more than 26 years Isaac Manave, 31, of KwaMsane in Mtubatuba, northern Zululand, has had to endure pain and suffering after doctors at the King Edward Hospital in Durban opened a hole behind his right ear in 1983.
Manave said he had had a tumour in the ear and went to the Ngwelezane Hospital but was referred to King Edward.
"An operation was done and the doctors opened a hole behind my ear," Manave said.
"They left it open, promising that as I grew older it would eventually close up - but that never happened.
"I was at the King Edward for three months and they sent me back to Ngwelezane, where I spent another two months."
Manave said time went by but the hole remained open.
He said in 2000 he went back to Ngwelezane but they could not help him and told him to go back to the King Edward, where he found no joy either.
"The ear was painful and sometimes blood or some smelly liquid would ooze from it," he said. "But I was told it was no big problem and sent home."
Manave said he consulted private doctors and was told in 2003 that an operation to repair the damage would cost R40000.
"I do not have that kind of money," he said.
Manave said he tried to consult the department of health in Pietermaritzburg but he was ignored.
"All I want is that the department helps me," he pleaded. "I have suffered enough. Doctors damaged my ear and they must sort it out."
His mother, Eunice Manave, said when he has a bath or it's raining she has to make sure the hole is covered so that water does not go into his ear.
"At night I can tell he is in pain but there's nothing I can do," she said.
"My son needs help and I don't want to lose him."
Department of health spokesman Leon Mbangwa said Manave should go to a clinic so that he can be referred to a hospital for treatment.