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By Marizka Coetzer


‘I watched my finger rot,’ says Pretoria woman following freak accident

She says she was unhappy after her first operation because she gave consent for the doctors to amputate her finger but instead woke up with a cast on the injured finger.

A Pretoria woman has spoken out about her traumatic ordeal of watching her finger rot following a freak accident with a washing machine.

The 19-year-old Deshané le Roux from Pretoria West said she was still adjusting to losing a finger in the accident. Le Roux was admitted to the Kalafong Provincial Tertiary Hospital on 28 July after falling, with her hand inside a top loader washing machine.

She described her situation as emotionally frustrating because she could no longer do anything for herself.

“I can’t do my hair, tie my shoes or hold a glass any more. I cannot write nor wash the dishes anymore. I don’t feel conscious about losing a finger. I just struggle to get by,” she said. “After it happened, I was more in shock than in pain. I didn’t feel the pain, all I could think about was if I would lose my finger.”

Le Roux said her hand felt like it was on fire. She said she was unhappy after her first operation because she gave consent for the doctors to amputate her finger but instead woke up with a cast on the injured finger.

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“The doctors initially said they couldn’t save the finger but when they put pins in my finger, I was hopeful that they might save it. After the amputation didn’t happen, I had to watch my finger rot. It was the hardest part to watch how my finger was dying.” Le Roux said it gave her false hope.

“The finger discoloured to blue and black and dried out. It didn’t look like a finger any more.”

She said her hand got stuck to a blanket when she fell. “My hand was caught inside the blanket while it continued to spin tighter. I think my finger tore when I forced my hand out.”

Le Roux said she now had to get used to her hand. “My hand looks like it has a chunk out. It looks like an alien hand,” she said.

Saartjie le Roux said her daughter’s hand was healing.

“The wound looks good because we clean it regularly,” she said, adding she was unhappy her daughter was used as a guinea pig. She waited nearly six days for the amputation. When I asked the doctor why they haven’t amputated yet, he said they thought they could save the finger,” she said.

Saartjie said the tip of daughter’s finger started decomposing. Kalafong spokesperson Hlengani Makhuvele confirmed Le Roux was admitted to the facility with a severe hand injury and subsequently attended theatre within 24 hours for debridement.

“During the said period, the patient was kept under medical treatment, observation and assessments. This process was essential for the treating team to arrive at a well-informed decision before further surgical treatment or interventions.”

He said doctors could not resort to amputation without observing how the finger would respond to the interventions made before the procedure , which had its risks.

“Unfortunately, after a week-long assessment, the team had to arrive at the unfavourable decision of amputating, after it became apparent the finger could not be salvaged,” he said.

Makhuvele said Le Roux was treated with antibiotics after the debridement. He said the patient followed the team’s treatment plan and was discharged in a satisfactory condition following medical and surgical interventions.

– marizkac@citizen.co.za

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