The mother of a seven-year-old girl is suing the Mpumalanga department of health for R6million after her child's leg and foot, and parts of her other foot, were amputated after only one limb had turned gangrenous.
"What shocks me even worse is that my child had sustained injuries to only one leg but the hospital amputated parts of both legs and then they failed to give me a valid reason," Jabulile Nkalanga, 28, said yesterday.
Nkalanga, of Daantjie settlement, said the child was two when her leg and foot were amputated at the Rob Ferreira Hospital.
The child, Boitomelo Bellows, now uses crutches and finds it difficult to reach the Sibuyile Primary School where she is in Grade 2.
Nkalanga said Boitomelo fell off a shop's veranda and was rushed to the hospital where she stayed for a few weeks.
Doctors amputated parts of her legs after gangrene set in.
According to medical records in Sowetan's possession the gangrene developed because too much tension was applied when the child was lying in bed in traction.
So by cutting off her leg and foot, the hospital was trying to fix a problem they had allegedly caused.
Nkalanga went from lawyer to lawyer trying to find justice for her daughter.
Then Nelspruit attorney Slungu Thobela offered to assist her straight from his pocket and used his own money to engage a specialist doctor.
"The child now has a below-knee amputation on the right leg and a partial foot amputation on the left," Thobela said.
"It makes me very angry to realise that the hospital and the department of health failed to take responsibility after the negligence caused to the child."
Pretoria orthopaedic surgeon Tony Birrel, writing in his report, said: "Our final opinion is that, based on the evidence we have at present, the patient was negligently treated and has a claim against the hospital and medical staff at Rob Ferreira hospital."
Department spokesman Mpho Gabashane said: "We respect the family's rights to pursue legal recourse but we have also requested the hospital to provide us with the relevant records before we deal with the matter."