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Boven man dies – bereaved father blames Hospital

On Monday 9 February 2015, Waterval Boven resident Anton van Vuuren (29) was alive. He was still young and healthy and his life stretched before him. Little more than 48 hours later, in the early hours of the morning of Thursday 19 February, he died whilst undergoing emergency surgery in Witbank hospital. And his heartbroken father, Peet van Vuuren (59) is adamant that the staff at the Waterval Boven Hospital (WBH) are to blame.

The details are tragically brief. Anton arrived at the family home in Boven a little earlier than usual in the late afternoon of Monday 9 Feb. - not feeling well and complaining of stomach cramps. His condition became rapidly worse and he phoned his father to come home and help him. Arriving a little before 18h00, Peet van Vuuren immediately took his son to the nearby WBH for treatment. From this point on, exact details are unavailable. Only approximate times have been supplied by the understandably devastated family – with WBH staff refusing to comment and written questions directed to the Mpumalanga Dept. of Health spokesperson, Dumisane Malamule, going unanswered.
According to Peet van Vuuren, Anton was examined and received pain medication. This, however, did not seem to help and his son’s condition rapidly worsened during the course of Tuesday and Wednesday – without Anton’s father and family ever receiving a clear diagnosis as to Anton’s complaint or condition. Matters came to a head around 16h00 on Wednesday 11 Feb. when Anton’s mother, Magda van Vuuren (56) arrived at WBH after travelling from Gauteng. In the words of Anton’s surviving brother, Reino (25), his mother immediately “raised hell” after taking one look at the condition of her son. With permission having finally having been obtained to transfer Anton to a larger hospital where he could, hopefully, receive better treatment and examination, he was transferred to Middelburg hospital – arriving just before midnight on the same day.

On arrival Anton was immediately examined by a “shocked” “Dr. Mario” and a “Dr. Thembi”, who described Anton’s condition to his father as “critical”. According to Anton’s father, Middelburg staff made immediate and urgent arrangements to transfer Anton to Witbank hospital and arranged for him to undergo emergency surgery. Anton was again transferred and went into surgery just before 01h00 on Thurs. 12 Feb. Shortly after 01h45, the anxiously waiting family was informed by the surgery that, despite everything possible having been done to save Anton, he had passed away on the table. A devastated Peet van Vuuren subsequently told THG that “Dr. Mario” at Middelburg hospital had told him on their arrival there earlier: “Why did it take so long to transfer your son here? If you had brought him here on Monday instead of waiting, we could have done something to save your son.”

Peet van Vuuren is adamant that WBH neglected his son and did not give him the proper treatment he needed. He states quite categorically that WBH “killed my son” – and he wants answers. As indicated earlier in this report, both WBH staff and Mpumalanga Dept. of Health officials are saying nothing. Whereas an autopsy has, according to the family, been performed, details of the report have not yet been released to the family by the time of going to press and the exact cause(s) of Anton’s death are not known at this time The fact remains however, that a case of unnatural death has been opened at the Klipfontein SAPS in Witbank and the details surrounding the untimely death of Anton van Vuuren are being investigated by Inspector Mike Mlotshwa. Unfortunately, the tragic case of Anton van Vuuren is not the only case of alleged negligence and/or neglect involving WBH that has been brought to the attention of this newspaper in recent months. THG will be sure to keep readers advised with regard to future developments.


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