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Soldier left partially paralysed after botched surgery at military hospital

A soldier who suffered complications after an operation at the 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria has told Eyewitness News of her emotional distress, saying she wishes she had died instead.

Picture: Freeimages

JOHANNESBURG – A soldier who suffered complications after an operation at the 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria has told Eyewitness News of her emotional distress, saying she wishes she had died instead.

Mareke Mokhothu from Potchefstroom underwent surgery in November 2010 to remove a benign tumour but she says a doctor cut a nerve in her face, leaving her partially paralysed.

Last month, the High Court in Pretoria found the hospital and the staff who treated her were negligent and ordered the Defence Ministry pay her legal expenses.

Mokhothu says in November 2010 she went to the One Military Hospital as she had been suffering from acute discomfort around her left ear since 2005.

When a benign tumour was diagnosed, a surgeon operated to remove it, but during surgery, a nerve was cut which completely paralysed the left side of her face.

She says the operation has left her feeling useless.

“I told the doctor that he should have just killed me, rather than me having to live like this.”

But she says she is happy about last month’s high court decision.

“I’m really relieved because at this rate I could not see myself working anymore. I don’t have the energy, I can’t even stay for long because my left leg is also a problem.”

Mokhothu’s legal team says it’s now obtaining all her medical reports to hand them over to the Defence Ministry so that she can receive the compensation she deserves.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)