Clinic clerk ‘refused’ to refer cancer patient
The Port Elizabeth Igazi Foundation has reported a clinic worker to the Human Rights Commission after she allegedly refused to refer a man – with a cancerous growth under his arm – for a biopsy.
Malixole Lennox Deyi, 43, told The Herald how he had become desperate when a clerk at the Booysen Park clinic refused for months to refer him for a biopsy.
Eventually, he faked an address so he could be seen at the Provincial Hospital clinic.
Deyi, who does not know the name of the clerk, hopes the same will not happen to another ill person.
The Igazi Foundation advocates for the rights of patients with blood cancers.
Its secretary, Cole Cameron, called on the Eastern Cape health department to investigate the matter with urgency.
“We want the department of health to ensure that this individual does not place another cancer patient at risk,” he said.
“We find it completely unacceptable that a person who is not medically trained could delay treatment for a very serious illness in this way.
“We believe this [matter] constitutes a grave violation of the right to . . . healthcare.”
Deyi said when he first went to the Booysen Park clinic in September 2017, staff said the growth under his arm was a boil and gave him tablets.
“I went back to say the lump was not getting better.
“At the clinic they said I must go for a biopsy at Livingstone Hospital,” he said.
Deyi claims that when he went to the hospital he was told the needle biopsy did not work and he would need to go back to a doctor at Booysens Park and get a referral letter to return for surgery.
“The doctor wrote a note to say that it was urgent and I must be helped at the hospital, in November. The clerk said I must wait to hear from her.”
Several months passed and Deyi said he went back to the clinic several times trying to confirm a date.
“The lump was growing all the time,” he said.
Nurses at the clinic tried to help Deyi. “When the nurse came with me to see the clerk, she chased both of us away.”
In desperation he tried to get help from the clinic at Port Elizabeth’s Provincial Hospital.
“They said . . . I did not have the right address and I must go to the clinic in Booysens Park.
“That day I couldn’t go on with this anymore,” Deyi said.
“I just spotted a house near the hospital and wrote down the street and the number.
“Then I went back to the clinic. They agreed to help me.”
He said the nurses were quick to refer him to a doctor at Livingstone Hospital.
Following that, Deyi was diagnosed with lymphoma – a cancer of the white blood cells.
He spent the next three months in hospital with intensive chemotherapy as doctors tried to save his life.
“Today, I am healthy but I am very, very angry at what happened,” he said.
Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Lwandile Sicwetsha said the department was investigating the incident.
Sicwetsha said while patients were encouraged to use the clinics closest to their homes, no-one should be denied medical help.
The complaint had been forwarded to the department’s customer care unit.