Mineworker ‘paralysed’ after flu jab ‘damages’ nerve

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A mineworker is seeking recourse after a nurse from the mining company hospital allegedly paralysed him after damaging the nerve of his buttock when he was giving him a flu injection.

Although the paralysis on Abraham Doctor Sekano’s right leg lasted overnight on February 15, he still suffers throbbing pains from his waist down, which makes it difficult for him to stand for a long period.

Sekano takes dozens of pain killers daily just to get by as two specialist doctors, a neurologist and a neurophysiologist, have not been able to help him.

They suggested physiotherapy sessions which he has already attended 10 times.

Impala Platinum Mine in Rustenburg, North West, however, said it has done all it could for Sekano, 37, and will continue to do so until the pain “resolves with time and analgesia”.

Spokeswoman Alice Lourens said doctors’ reports don’t show any signs of nerve damage or motor and sensory loss.

The scrapper winch operator has lost income because he can’t go back to work as his job is physically demanding and includes crawling under low-hanging rocks.

Since February he has been at home in Meriting, sending letters and e-mails to unions, government departments and medical associations seeking justice.

Last month the Health Professions Council of South Africa referred him to the Office of the Health Standard Compliance as the matter did not fall under their jurisdiction because it involved a private medical institution.

Sekano has since hired a lawyer, Conrad Weiss, to launch a civil case against Impala. However, the company has not responded.

Lourens confirmed receiving legal papers but did not say why they have not responded.

“I have not received any salary since February. My wife and I have been surviving at the mercy of our families who give us money to put food on the table and pay rent, which is three months in arrears.

“The company has put me on temporary incapacity  and I’m supposed to get back to work soon but I can’t in my condition,”  Sekano said.

He said he did not have a grudge against the nurse.

“I understand he has left the hospital. I’m not after him. The company is too arrogant to apologise and acknowledge that they have wronged me. They try to kill the matter by referring me to private specialist doctors who are linked to them, who then claim there is nothing wrong with my health. They must pay for the pain I’m going through,” Sekano said.

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