Johannesburg - Mpho Mokoena’s parents are appalled by the service they received after admitting him at the Life Brenthurst Clinic on Thursday.
The 12-year-old had fallen off his bicycle the day before and felt excruciating pain in his left arm while at school the next day.
Mpho Mokoena injured his arm when he fell off his bicycle, but the subsequent treatment or lack of it he received from Life Brenthurst Clinic proved almost as painful. Credit: INLSA
“I felt his arm and could see there was some swelling, so we decided to take him to the clinic after supper that night (Thursday) to have it checked out,” his father Pule Mokoena explained.
Mpho was attended to by Dr Kevin Fainberg, who sent the boy for X-rays.
Mokoena said the doctor took a “quick, casual and uninterested” look at the X-ray results, which showed no visible signs of fracture.
“He (Fainberg) told us there was a fracture and the wound had gone septic, and our son had to be admitted immediately so that he could be taken into theatre to drain the pus from the wound and, thereafter, attend to the fracture,” he continued.
Mokoena said they were then informed that Dr Kalombo Tshidibi would perform the procedure the following day – but he was available only after 11am because “he was going for his driving licence test”.
“We found this unacceptable as our medical aid had authorised for only a night’s stay in hospital as it wasn’t a serious procedure and our son was going to spend the whole day in hospital only for a procedure to be done after 12pm. This meant that the hospital was going to charge us for an extra day,” he added.
After being told that there was no other doctor available to do the procedure, Mokoena said he had no choice but to cancel his son’s admission.
On the Friday morning, Mokoena spoke to the hospital’s public relations manager, Veronica Holliday, who “apologised profusely” and told him she had addressed the matter with Tshidibi.
“She asked us to bring our son back for admission that evening at 9pm for the procedure to be done the next day (Saturday) at 8am. We obliged,” he said.
However, to their surprise, they were informed at the paediatric ward that Tshidibi could attend to Mpho only after 2pm.
Shocked and frustrated, Mokoena then called the doctor.
“Tshidibi was very arrogant and told us in no uncertain terms that he had prior plans and would not be dictated to by us… if we could not accept his terms, it was unfortunate as he would not bow to our ‘pressure’.”
At 11pm, with no help at hand, Mokoena said he was left with no option but to cancel his son’s admission a second time and admitted him at Garden City Clinic, where they were told there were no signs of a fracture and Mpho didn’t need a procedure done in the first place.
The private clinic confirmed they were aware of Mokoena’s complaint, but felt the matter was a bad case of miscommunication.
Hospital manager Roy Schubach said Fainberg had admitted Mpho to the paediatric ward because the wound had gone septic, not for a procedure.
“Admission was aimed at wound care rather than concern for a possible fracture. No theatre procedure was booked,” Schubach said.
And if they had waited for Tshidibi’s examination, he added, they would have found that there was no need for surgery.