Maggots shock for PE hospital patient

LACK OF CARE: Clint Morris Picture: Supplied
LACK OF CARE: Clint Morris begged nurses for days to change his surgical dressings
Picture: Supplied

Appalled East Cape health department boss orders investigation

After begging nurses for days to change his surgical dressings, a horrified patient at Port Elizabeth’s Livingstone Hospital woke up yesterday to find his massive leg wound covered in maggots. Clint Morris, 40, was seriously injured in a scooter accident a month ago and has undergone multiple surgeries on both legs.

The wound infested with maggots
The wound infested with maggots

But nothing could have prepared him for the shock of seeing the maggot-infested wound after nurses had earlier told him to change his dressings himself.

Incredulous Eastern Cape Department of Health superintendent-general Dr Thobile Mbengashe intervened after being informed of what had happened and seeing pictures of the wound.

He said a full investigation would be carried out.

Morris said yesterday: “I felt weird. I looked down and saw these things crawling around my wounds.”

After he pointed it out to the nurses in Ward 2A, they still made him wait for 90 minutes before coming to clean his wound.

“What could I do? I sat there watching these white little maggots crawling around my wounds,” Morris said.

“I felt sick. I almost passed out from shock.”

Morris said since being admitted to Ward 2A on December 13, his dressings had only been changed once – on December 23 – after his visitors had asked the medical superintendent’s office to intervene.

“The nurses told me they were understaffed and I should do it myself,” he said.

One of Morris’s legs was almost ripped off and the other broken in a scooter accident on December 2.

Morris, who lives and works at The Willows, where he is employed as a handyman, was riding his scooter in Marine Drive when another vehicle drove into him.

“I remember trying to stand up after the accident and falling. I wasn’t feeling any pain. My legs were not working,” he said.

He was taken to theatre just before 1am the next day.

“The doctors wanted to amputate my foot, but I am still holding on to it,” he said.

Morris has since had seven surgeries as doctors desperately try to save his legs.

He has had some muscle and skin grafts but still needs further surgery.

He has had pins and screws put in one leg and is due for a last operation tomorrow.

Morris can only walk a little on crutches and the other leg – which had to be reassembled by surgeons – is encased in a steel cage and is the one where the wound became infested with maggots.

Mbengashe ordered an immediate investigation after being notified.

“It is not right for patients to [be told they must] change their own dressings.

“There should be no such treatment of patients,” he said. “I will ask the [chief executive] of Livingstone to investigate and provide me with information.”

Provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo – speaking on behalf of Livingstone Hospital – said angrily: “It is totally unacceptable that a patient has been allowed to develop such complications in our care.

“Dr Mbengashe has directed the hospital CEO to immediately launch an investigation and also ensure the patient receives the best quality of care.”

Morris said he had only good things to say about the doctors and nurses at Livingstone’s orthopaedics department and the surgeons at Provincial Hospital where his skin and muscle grafts were done. “I was raving about all of them,” he said. His trouble only started after he was admitted to Ward 2A, the surgical ward at Livingstone Hospital.

Brian Paddey, from the Amputee Support Group, said he had visited Morris last week.

“The smell from his wound was nauseating,” Paddey said. “I also asked the nurses to change his bandages and they told me that he must do it himself.

“How is he supposed to do it? His leg is in a steel cage.

“There were two doctors there and they told me the same thing. I am appalled.

“Previously, I was so impressed with the doctors and nurses in the orthopaedic ward. They were just unbelievable. He received such good care there.

“The care in this ward, however, left me completely heartbroken,” Paddey said.

“This man has no family here to help him. His mom is in the UK and she is panicking. “How cruel can you be?” DA spokeswoman for health Celeste Barker said she was appalled.

“We call for the strongest possible action and for disciplinary steps to be taken against every single person who denied Morris care,” she said.

“Why did he have to suffer for so many days without his dressing being changed?

“It is absolutely inhumane.”

13 thoughts on “Maggots shock for PE hospital patient

  • February 16, 2017 at 8:20 am
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    I was hospitalized in Livingstone Hospital after a motor accident in which 2 people died. I suffered 7 broken ribs, dislocated collar bone, punctured lung, etc. and couldn’t move by myself and when I asked a passing nurse to please bring me a bed pan, she told me “It’s under your bed…get it yourself”.
    I’m so glad that my God never slumbers nor sleeps. In the Bible He says “Vengeance is Mine..I will repay”.

    Reply
  • January 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm
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    Someone should name and shame the staff responsible for the neglect.

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  • January 8, 2017 at 4:50 pm
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    I am so sorry to hear of your experience Morris. I have known the nurses to give the best quality of care, by using the safest and best practise standards. Receiving basic wound care is your right ,as thiswill aid with wound healing. I wish you a speedy recovery.

    Reply
  • January 7, 2017 at 10:01 am
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    Good Lord above!? I am due to have a back operation at this hospital but am rather taking the chance of becoming wheelchair-bound after reading this! Ain’t no way they will be seeing me there!

    Reply
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  • January 6, 2017 at 10:46 am
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    this is beyond disgusting. this type of nursing gives the real nurses a bad name. as a nurse you take an oath. however this news is not at al surprising as many of the nurses at provincial levels do not care or are overworked because of the shortage of staff. as a “bed ridden patient you are at their mercy.
    an investigation is all well and good but the damage has been done. I hope he takes this further as it will impact on him in the future. he could as a result of this neglect lose the leg, what then??

    Reply
  • January 5, 2017 at 2:35 pm
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    In an odd way…I think the maggots helped the situation somewhat. Maggots feed on dead cells and putrefaction… Thre healthy tissue underneath isn’t touched. The maggots were doing what the care givers would not or could not do. All in all there is no excuse for the situation.

    Reply
    • February 16, 2017 at 8:12 am
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      God works in mysterious ways. He used the maggots to do the work of the ‘care-givers’ who refused to help the poor man. Those maggots will testify against them in the day of judgement.

      Reply
  • January 5, 2017 at 1:14 pm
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    This is sadly the issue with government hospitals in South Africa these days and it forces most people to seek expensive medical aid plans so they can have access to private hospitals and facilities. I have found that even the private hospitals do not offer the best services, but I would personally rather pay the excessive private hospital bills than putting a foot into a government hospital.

    In my experience, the gov hospitals are generally understaffed, who are also underpaid. Hence why going the extra mile is laughable. I once had a friend who broke his leg and waited over 12hrs to been seen at a KZN hospital. He eventually was turned away and had to drive another 80km or so to the next government hospital. It is really a horrifying experience and I feel for this poor man and his experience, especially which such server injuries. I suppose this is a lesson learnt for him, and anybody in SA for that matter to ensure they have proper medical aid cover or a hospital plan. Even if it means sacrificing other things in life for it.

    Side note: Although this is certainly disgusting for the poor patience. Maggots are generally a natural way to get ride or rotting flesh and help quite a bit in this regard. I can almost confidently say that the maggots helped this man and his wound more then what the nurses did.

    Reply
  • January 5, 2017 at 10:26 am
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    I lost my Dad and Son due to aftercare negligence in the so called Government Hospitals and nearly lost my friend again due to under qualified gravytrain staff

    Reply
  • January 4, 2017 at 7:36 pm
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    He should lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Commission because this the nurses behavior is appalling

    Reply
  • January 4, 2017 at 4:48 pm
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    An investigation is all good and well, but what are they going to do to prevent this in future? I’ve seen this kind of care more than once, and even in private hospitals. At least private hospitals have a head-office one can contact. The Department of Health is a misery of passing phone calls from one to the other, with nobody willing to deal with issues.

    Why not have a central complaints line advertised in all wards in all hospitals? Aside from it being inundated with calls at first, it may actually improve the situation in the long run if there’s accountability.

    Reply
    • January 5, 2017 at 9:40 am
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      Hpcsa is the ppl u shud complain to each and every health practioner registers with the body and they uphold laws governing them

      Reply

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