Durban husband exhumes wife’s body in search of closure
Durban – A heartbroken husband, who believes his wife died as a result of medical negligence, will do anything for closure.
Last week, Nandha Chetty, 55, a Malvern businessman, had the body of his wife Jesse exhumed and hired a private pathologist to conduct a post-mortem.
He has also asked Life Entabeni Hospital, where she died, and the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to investigate the matter.
Due to delays at the Magwaza Maphalala (Gale) Street Mortuary, the post-mortem was only conducted on Tuesday.
In 2017, a vascular surgeon told Jesse she had an aneurysm (bulge or ballooning in a blood vessel) on her coeliac vessel (major artery in abdominal cavity) and a blockage on her main mesenteric artery (takes blood from the aorta and distributes it to a large portion of the gastrointestinal tract).
In January 2018, the doctor attempted to place a stent on the aneurysm but the procedure was unsuccessful.
Chetty, a father of four, said they were told to return to the hospital if Jesse experienced pain. They were also warned to that if the aneurysm burst it could be fatal.
In April this year, the doctor allegedly told Jesse he wanted to proceed with surgery. Jesse underwent surgery on May 23.
“The doctor told me it was a success, but he did not perform the bypass because it was dangerous and complicated. But while visiting her on May 26, she looked darker. I questioned the staff and they said it was normal because of the blood infusions.”
A day later, her condition took a turn for the worse and she began bleeding internally, he said. She underwent a second procedure to stop the bleeding.
“I was told she had a heart attack and they revived her with the defibrillator. In addition, another vessel, close to the aneurysm, popped, due to the closeness of the blood vessels.”
Later that afternoon, bleeding started and a third operation followed. Her condition worsened. “Her kidneys failed and they needed to begin dialysis. She had also picked up jaundice.”
Jesse was unresponsive, and nurses, he said, encouraged him to talk and play her music to prompt her to respond.
On May 31, a day before Chetty’s 55th birthday, Jesse’s blood pressure dropped and she died before he could get to the hospital. She was 50.
Chetty refused to accept his wife died of natural causes, as reflected on her death certificate.
In June, Chetty opened an inquest into her death at Mayville SAPS and the Durban Magistrate’s Court granted his application to have the body exhumed.
“We want to know how she died, and if there was any wrongdoing, those responsible must be held accountable.”
Bhaviksha Maharaj, the hospital manager, sympathised with the family.
“We take allegations of negligence very seriously and while specialists practicing in our facilities are not employed by the Life Healthcare Group, we have stringent policies and protocols in place to address matters of this nature.”
Maharaj said an internal investigation was currently under way.
Noluthando Nkosi, of the KZN Department of Health, said the post-mortem was done on Tuesday and they regretted the delay.
Priscilla Sekhonyana, of the HPCSA, said they would investigate.