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By Citizen Reporter


Pretoria woman blames Steve Biko Hospital for lip cancer

Clara van Heerden got a cold sore in 2016 that would not go away, which was initially diagnosed by the hospital as an infection. WARNING: Graphic content.

A woman from Pretoria west is blaming Steve Biko hospital for misdiagnosing her lip cancer as an “infection”, reports Pretoria Moot Rekord.

They allowed it to go untreated for more than two years, resident Clara van Heerden said.

Van Heerden of Hermanstad said her family doctor referred her to the hospital in June 2016 because she had a cold sore that would not go away.

ALSO READ: Pretoria woman’s cold sore turns out to be lip cancer

“The doctor said it looked like lip cancer, which was why he referred me to the hospital,” she said.

She said that after three biopsies and one computed tomography (CT) scan, she was told it was only an infection.

“Just after the third biopsy in July this year, it started growing and getting worse.

“I was at Steve Biko since 2016, and why didn’t they operate on me back then? If they did, I would only have had a small scar today.

“Instead, all they did was prescribe some antibiotics and sent me back home again.”

The infection started on her lip in 2016. Photo: Supplied

Van Heerden said she returned to hospital after her lip got worse.

“The doctors then decided to treat it as cancer, but added that they would have to cut my lip out.

“I immediately got up and walked out because I simply could not believe that I was about to lose my lip because of a cold sore.”

Taking matters into her own hands, Van Heerden took to social media asking for help.

Van Heerden said a doctor from Pretoria offered to operate on her lip for free.

“Although he is doing the procedure free of charge, I will still be responsible for the hospital and operation room charges.”

Van Heerden said the operation would cost about R100,000, adding that donations were of the utmost importance to her.

The hospital declined to comment on this specific case.

Hospital spokesperson Dr. Mathabo Mathebula said: “Unfortunately, we are unable to respond on the case directly as that would be contravening with confidentiality of a patient’s health condition.

“I propose that the patient lodge a formal complaint or we shall use this inquiry as a formal complaint.”

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