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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Investigations launched against Rob Ferreira Hospital after cancer patient’s nightmare ordeal

Du Plessis was diagnosed with phyllodes cancer in 2020 after a tumour had been discovered in her right breast when she was living in Cape Town.


An urgent investigation has been launched against Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mpumalanga, after the questionable treatment of a cancer patient.

42-year-old Elsie du Plessis was told to prepare for the worst, and that she could die.

“But I am too young to die”, she told Lowvelder.

Growing tumour

What was originally a two-centimetre tumour discovered in her right breast seven months ago eventually developed into a massive infectious ulcer that covered her whole breast.

Du Plessis was diagnosed with phyllodes cancer in 2020 after a tumour had been discovered in her right breast when she was living in Cape Town.

Investigations launched against Rob Ferreira Hospital after cancer patient’s nightmare
Elsie du Plessis’s infected breast. Photo: Lowvelder

In December 2020, she underwent a mastectomy at Groote Schuur Hospital.

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Chemo and radiation treatment was due to follow, but was not undergone by Du Plessis, due to her relocating to Mbombela in April this year.

“Before I left Cape Town, I Googled oncology treatment in the city, and saw great information about the ‘sophisticated’ oncology unit at Rob Ferreira.”

She told the publication shortly after the move, she noticed a small tumour developing in her breast.

By the end of July last year, she called Rob Ferreira Hospital, but could only get an appointment in the hospital’s oncology unit on 27 September.

On the day of her appointment, she was told to make an appointment at the breast clinic as well, scheduled for December.

However, when she arrived, she was told the clinic was closed for the festive season.

In the meantime, Du Plessis’s tumour was growing by the day, going from two centimetres to about 30 centimetres.

Investigations launched

She was eventually booked for an operation on 26 January, in which doctors said they had to drain fluid.

However, when she awoke, she was told the operation could not be completed as it was discovered to be a tumour and not just fluid build-up as previously thought.

Her wound was closed with 12 stitches, and became infected shortly afterwards.

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“The doctors told me they could do nothing until they had received the results of tissue samples that had been taken during a biopsy. During the meeting I was informed there was nothing that could be done for me, and that I needed to prepare for the worst!

“The way they treated me during the seven months is shocking. These people do not deserve to be called doctors,” Du Plessis told the publication.

“This entire process has taken seven months. My health has deteriorated, and I am now sitting with a massive open wound on my chest due to a lack of service and professionalism.

“This is a direct reflection of poor service delivery from Rob Ferreira Hospital. The doctors are not trained and mentored properly. There are no senior doctors available to assist the interns. “

She said this despite voicing her concerns repeatedly, and emphasising the urgency of her need for medical care.

As a result of her experience, Du Plessis launched a complaint with the Mpumalanga health department’s management, as well as the Office of the Health Ombudsman.

She has also begun legal proceedings against the provincial health department.

The following week, she was told by the ombud that an urgent investigation against both Rob Ferreira and Steve Biko hospitals had been launched.

Du Plessis said she may move back to Cape Town to complete her oncology treatment at Groote Schuur Hospital.

“My whole life is turned upside down and I’m popping pain tablets as if they were Smarties. The worst is that I’m not the only patient suffering from bad treatment at Rob Ferreira.”

Edited by Nica Richards.

This article first appeared on Caxton publication Lowvelder, by Buks Viljoen.

Read the original article here.

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