26 November 2007

Tragedy as wrong man gets brain op

A man with a brain tumour who instead received knee surgery as part of a medical mix-up in Tanzania has died.

A man with a brain tumour who instead received knee surgery as part of a medical mix-up in Tanzania has died, the country's health minister said last week.

Emmanuel Mgaya, who underwent knee instead of brain surgery on November 8 at the country's main Muhimbili hospital, died Thursday - two days after undergoing the proper surgery for a second time, Health Minister David Mwakyusa said.

Mwakyusa said the condition of knee patient Emmanuel Didas, operated for a non-existent brain tumour, was also critical.

The minister said Didas will be sent to India for further treatment.

"He is still in a bad condition and doctors have recommended that he should be flown abroad for specialised treatment," he added.

"Government is very sorry"
Mgaya was operated on locally in an attempt to save his life after his condition deteriorated further and he developed convulsions, the minister said.

"It is very unfortunate and the government is very sorry," he added.

The bungle, caused by confusion over the patients' same first name, sparked condemnation across the impoverished East African nation, known for its poor healthcare infrastructure.

The two surgeons responsible have been suspended while other staff involved have been ordered to provide written explanations for the incident.

There are only about 100 professional surgeons for a population of at least 36 million, according to the Tanzanian Surgical Association. (Sapa-AFP)

Read more:
10 medical blunders


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